BEAUMONT, Texas — A Texas elementary school principal didn’t want kids to stop learning when school ended for the day, so she started reading her students bedtime stories weekly on a livestream.
At 7:30 p.m. each Tuesday, Homer Drive Elementary School Principal Belinda George puts on pajamas, sits in front of her iPhone and reads a book to students via Facebook Live. She began the practice in mid-December 2018 as a way to encourage good reading habits at home, George told The Beaumont Enterprise.
"I want to extend what I do past 4 p.m. I'm not in every child's home, so I don't know if all or any of them have someone to read to them at night. This is just a way to give the children that exposure," George said.
About one-third of students in the school district met state standards for English language arts and reading last year, and about one-tenth mastered those standards, the Enterprise reported. George said she came across the idea of livestreaming bedtime stories while reading an online forum for school principals. She decided to try it.
Since she began, “Tucked in by the principal Tuesdays” has taken off in popularity.
George streams via the Homer Drive Elementary School Facebook page. She interacts with children who tune in by asking questions and having them make inferences as she reads, she said. She enjoys reading feedback from students watching.
"Seeing their little answers come across the screen, saying, 'I think this,' or just laughing out loud at certain parts -- it's just really heartwarming," George told KFDM-TV.
Children beyond Homer Drive Elementary have begun tuning in, George said. Students of other schools in the district have begun to watch, and George said she recently had viewers from as far away as Florida and New Mexico.
The Tuesday-night tradition seems to be as rewarding to George as it is to the children she's educating.
"I don't have children of my own, so I love these kids with all my heart," she said.
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