How many books can one mom read aloud to her children?
Five? Ten? Seven hundred and thirty-eight?
COVID-19 is helping me find out. Before social distancing and days devoid of storytime, we probably read two books together. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Plus, my daughter attended preschool for three glorious days per week. Once in a while, we even made it to the library.
Now we have been stuck in the house for weeks on end with the same old books. Day after day.
I usually love reading with my daughter, but there are only so many times we can read aloud together, meticulously lifting each little cardboard flap, before I lose my mind.
Enter YouTube Read Alouds.
My four year old loves to watch other people read stories! I count it as educational screen time, which means it doesn’t count at all. We all need to cut ourselves a little bit of a break. Here are our favorites:
StoryTime at Awnie’s House
This lady is magic. My four-year-old is mesmerized from start to finish, probably because her expressions and inflections are just the right amounts of dramatic. She has hundreds of read-aloud videos on her YouTube site for a target audience of preschoolers through early elementary school.
These stories are brought to you by the Screen Actors Guild Foundation! Each book features a different celebrity for its read aloud. It’s entertaining for younger children and even adults, and they provide free activity guides with enrichment ideas like recipes and crafts that connect to each book.
We like A Tale of Two Beasts, read by Sarah Silverman. Our other favorite is Please Please the Bees, read by Rashida Jones. Both books are short and sweet with a great message of seeing two sides to every story.
This one has categories for read aloud, and some videos have run times of 40+ minutes. The sixth-grade language arts teacher in me likes that the words are highlighted as the reader says them aloud, encouraging kids to scan from left to right and follow along. It’s probably best suited for emerging or reluctant readers ages four to nine, depending on interests and ability.
Read alouds help promote literacy, foster connections, and build empathy in children. Even if they are watching through a screen. So, if you are looking for a new, easy way to keep your kids engaged, online read alouds just might be the ticket.