There are trying times for all of us. If you’re like me, you’re at home trying to juggle work, helping your kids with their school work or keeping them entertained so you can keep your mind intact. With everything coming to a screeching halt, we are missing our daily outings and so are our kids.
We have some good news for you and your littles: there are many virtual reading parties happening and we’ve put together a list for you. All you have to do is click on the link, find the story hour of your liking, and hope it entertains your child long enough to use the loo solo, dig into your candy stash, or get something done.
We are so thankful for those who are taking the time out of their day — from celebrities to publishers to community libraries — to do something of value for us all.
So, without further ado, here’s a list of virtual story hours you and your family can tune into:
1. Penguin Kids
Penguin Kids is conducting a virtual story hour where they will be reading a picture book–great for toddlers and pre-schoolers– every day at 11am EST via their Instagram page. Titles include The Rabbit Listened, by Cori Doerrfeld. And they are taking requests! “Come back every week day for a new story! Let us know what stories your kids would want to hear in the comments below,” the Penguin folks wrote on Instagram.
Oliver Jeffers will be reading one of his books every day at 2 p.m until it’s safe to go out again. His stories are great for elementary-school aged children. You can watch him reading on his Instagram stories.
Visit the Brooklyn Public Library’s website where they’ll be doing live streaming, which will include stories, songs, and tips for early learning at 2pm EST for all ages (you can pick from different categories). They also host a virtual bedtime story hour at 7pm and 7:30pm EST.
Go to Facebook and type in #OperationStorytime to see authors and illustrators reading their books aloud. They are constantly adding new material, so check back often and there will be something for every age and genre.
Mac will be reading a picture book a day on his Instagram stories. Perfect for toddlers, pre-schoolers, and elementary-aged kids.
Barnett writes on his Instagram: “Hey, tomorrow morning (3/15) at noon Pacific I’m going to read my first picture book, Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem, out loud right here on Instagram Live. If you can’t make it, I think it stays up for 24 hours—I don’t know, I’ve never used Instagram Live before, we will figure this out together.”
You can visit Story Online to see some of your favorite actors and actresses like Kristen Bell, Viola Davis, and Betty White reading children’s books. Their videos are available 24 hours a day and there’s something for all ages. For instance, author David Shannon hosted a reading of A Bad Case Of Stripes, read by actor Sean Austin.
Huron Public Library goes live on their Facebook page Monday-Friday at 1pm EST reading much-loved books that kids of all ages will enjoy. Children’s librarian Melissa Harrington, affectionately known as “Miss Melissa,” says, “I want the babies who attend my story time to recognize my face, voice and routine. I want toddlers and preschoolers to participate and answer back to questions. I want older children to watch and reminisce about the times they use to attend story time; a nostalgic feel.” Props and sound effects add to the fun for kids, and Miss Melissa is sometimes joined by a special guest — her husband Casey, a.k.a. “Mr. Melissa.”
Heather Roy is a daycare owner who teachers a pre-school program. She just started her program and will be reading a book Monday-Friday on her Facebook page. Her stories are great for toddlers and pre-school aged children. Roy says, “I own a daycare and teach a preschool program. I have started this group for parents during school closures to use and post resources to help parents of young children. I plan to do circle time each day Monday-Friday. Please join and feel free to share with your friends who would like their kids to be part of circle time from a distance.”
Actor Josh Gad, the voice behind Olaf in Frozen, will be reading children’s books for elementary aged kids every night for at least 10 minutes via his Twitter page.
So, there you have it. A bit of comfort during an uncertain time. Because we all know a little reading can soothe the soul.
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