Principal Archie Moss Jr. really wants his students to love reading.
While he was never a fan of story time when he was a child, the Memphis-based educator said he wants students to read as much as they can, CBS affiliate WREG reported.
“Reading was actually not my favourite subject,” he told the broadcaster. “I didn’t like reading because I didn’t see myself in the books we were reading.”
But to make things easier for his students, Moss, along with the elementary school’s librarian, recently came up with an idea to read bedtime stories on Facebook Live once a week on the school’s official social media page.
“I don’t care what they are reading,” Moss continued. “I just want to get them into the habit of reading different books and expanding their vocabulary.”
Last week, Bruce Elementary School posted a video of Moss’ first bedtime reading of the book The Joys of Being a Little Black Boy. To encourage them to tune in, Moss asked students (via their parents) to leave their names below for a raffle the next day.
“After you finish hearing this great book, hopefully your parents might agree that it is time for you to go to bed,” he said in the video.
Sitting on his sofa beside a table lamp, Moss announced he would read a bedtime story every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. After the reading, he told his “scholars” to be proud of their identities.
“Make sure you know no one can destroy the work and the passion and the drive you have to be the best you can be.”
For his second reading on Tuesday, Moss read The Day you Begin by Jacqueline Woodson. He added both parents and their children voted on which book Moss should read next.
Reading to kids at night
A 2008 report by Joanna Blake at the department of psychology at York University in Toronto and York Region high school teacher Nicholas Maiese, found reading to children as early as eight months (but not as early as four months) can grow a child’s vocabulary.
“This suggests that parents should bring out the books before their children can understand what is being read to them, but not before the infant can sit up,” authors said.
“The fact that reading to a pre-verbal infant has a bearing on later language is surprising to many of us who would have thought that shared book reading should begin when we hear the infant’s first words, usually about one year of age.”
Authors also noted not only did bedtime reading help with improving language, but it can also improve a child’s narrative skill and help them understand certain emotions.
“When mothers read, they often focus on characters’ feelings. As the explanations of character actions increased with children’s age from two to three, so too did the focus of children’s utterances.”