Teachers are known to go above and beyond to help students any way they can, but Keisha Yearby of Chesapeake, Virginia has taken that commitment, love and dedication a step further. The second-grade teacher at B.M. Williams Primary is such a big believer in the power of bedtime stories, she takes to Facebook Live and YouTube every Tuesday to read a bedtime story to her students—and anyone else who wants to log in and listen.
What started as a simple way for her to ensure the mostly low income students at her Title I elementary school were exposed to a bedtime story at least once per week has grown, and the spirited schoolteacher now has a following of nearly 1,000 with fans across the country.
“When you decide that you are ready for a better life and ready to change the world. When you decide to do the work. Things will begin to happen suddenly,” posted Ms. Yearby after the Washington Post published a story about her reading adventures series. “I am humbled by this.”
Each show lasts about 20 minutes and features Ms. Yearby reading stories aloud while also talking about important life lessons, such as being grateful for what you have and urging children to be kind to their parents and classmates.
Inspired by the overabundance of research that shows how reading aloud to children boosts their social, emotional, and intellectual development, improves literacy skills, and can even spur discussion about topics that are often difficult for children to understand, Ms. Yearby is committed to her weekly reading series.
But she isn’t the first teacher to turn to Facebook Live to read to her students. In fact she was inspired by Belinda George, a school principal in Beaumont, Texas, who has her own weekly reading series, “Tucked-In Tuesday’s.”
Rather than just read the stories directly, Ms. Yearby also employs simple tricks such as covering pictures so kids are forced to focus on the letters, or asking viewers questions so they can write in with their replies, which encourages the development of critical thinking and comprehension skills.
However, she’s isn’t above giving the kids homework, as she did recently: “I want you to do one thing today to make someone else smile.”