By Sara Busse
Unbeknownst to him, WOWK weatherman Spencer Adkins inspired a new delivery system for Read Aloud of Boone County. By embracing technology, Chapter President Jennifer Griffith is spreading Read Aloud throughout the county with enthusiasm and passion.
“I was on Facebook and saw Spencer Adkins go live with an update about a storm.” She joined the conversation. “When I did, I saw the interaction between me, him and others… people typing in, asking questions… he would read them and say their names with a reply. I thought, ‘How neat is that?!’ I sent a question to see if the storm would hit Madison. He said, ‘Jennifer, it looks like it will hit in about ten minutes down the Boone line.’ From that day on, I would see journalists and others ‘go live’ and thought, ‘How could I incorporate that into my Read Aloud?’”
Griffith went live on Facebook, reading children’s favorite books. She promoted the Tuesday night Facebook readings to parents and children. Authors joined in live discussions. And it was a hit!
Griffith knew that most homes have a computer, iPad or iPhone, all of which have links to social media.
“My goal was to get parents involved as well as the kids. Having it at night, I hoped to draw a larger crowd, that parents and grandparents would sit with their child, watch and engage, just as I did with Spencer!”
The story time ran through June and July. Parents would comment as the story progressed. Griffith’s expressive delivery guaranteed many responses from parents. They would message her, saying how excited their child was when Griffith called him or her by name.
“I would give a ‘shout out’ to the kids when I saw their posts. ‘Hey Bobby, are you ready for Storytime? We have a great book to read tonight.’
Griffith said one great thing about Facebook Live is that it stays on the Facebook page and those who missed it can view at a later time.
Griffith, a former teacher in the Boone County school system and current piano teacher who now works with WVU Physicians, has been encouraging reading in her community for many years. She created a program called “Skyhawk Read Aloud” that involved high school football players reading to elementary students. Book drives at football games, Read to My Pet Day and other initiatives have helped promote reading in the county, as well.
Visit Read Aloud WV-Boone County on Facebook to see Griffith’s videos and to stay updated on the exciting events in the county.