Caring for Kids adjusts to COVID-19 restrictions by participating for first time in Read Across America

By Emma Russell

Student Life Editor

On Feb. 25, Caring for Kids President senior Nicole Noce sent out an email asking members of the Washington College community if they would record themselves reading children’s books for Read Across America week.

According to the email the videos will be gathered together and sent “out to local organizations that we work with so that others can have access to people they may recognize from their community reading and sharing literature in a COVID-19 safe format.” 

According to the National Education Association website, Read Across America was launched in 1998 on March 2, which happens to be the birthday of famous children’s author Dr. Seuss, which is a reason why many people choose to read Dr. Seuss book’s for the event. 

Read Across America is the nation’s largest celebration of reading and the goal of the program is to focus, “on motivating children and teens to read through events, partnerships, and reading resources that are about everyone, for everyone.”

The NEA offers a selection of books that all students can see themselves reflected in, saying that, “Readers who feel included, recognized, and a part of the world are engaged readers.”

According to Noce, normally Caring for Kids is much more “hands on,” something that has become nigh impossible due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Members would usually help pack bags with the Kent County Backpack program, volunteer at A.I. duPont Hospital, and host their annual Build-A-Bear event.

“Normally in the winter we host our Build-A-Bear event. So you can build two bears, one that you donate, and one that you can keep for yourself or donate — it’s up to you what you do with the second bear. It’s always been a big hit on campus because we do it right before finals. So it’s like a nice little fun holiday stress relief activity,” Noce said. 

This is Caring for Kids’ first time participating in Read Across America, thanks to treasurer senior Leah Morris, who came up with the idea. 

Noce submitted a video of herself reading a children’s book titled “A Stone Sat Still” by Brendon Wenzel. She wanted to be able to screen share the book, so children could see the pictures and still hear her reading.

Noce said other video submissions included books such as “A House is a House for Me” by Mary Ann Hoberman, one of the Fancy Nancy books by Jane’O Connor, and “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss.

Caring for Kids hopes to share the videos with A.I. duPont Hospital and H.H. Garnett Elementary School, both of which they have worked before in hopes of the children being able to see people they may recognize. 

“When I was younger, we always had parents come into school and read books, or you would go to the library or something and someone would read you a book and with all of these [COVID-19] restrictions you can’t really do that,” Noce said. “It’s nice to hear different voices, different stories, and with these videos you can really like get a bunch of people together picking stories that maybe mean something to them.”

“Our hope is that we can start, as things open back up, going back to what we normally did, but also now implementing the new things we’ve started doing virtually,” she said. 

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