In partnership with School Librarian Sarah FitzHenry, Ms. McKenzie Inigo's fourth grade class has been taking part in the national Hurricane Harvey Book Club, an online book club created by Texas educator Kathryn Butler Mills.
With 70,000 participants, the club is built around a closed Facebook group. Kids supply videos of themselves reading aloud so that children affected by flooding can still enjoy books even if they do not have any physically at hand.
"Since the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, thousands of students in Texas have not been able to return to school. When they do go back, many will have lost their classroom, school, and public libraries," said FitzHenry on her blog Fitz Between the Shelves.
"As part of an ongoing desire to teach our students empathy and the importance of community service, Ms. Inigo and I decided to collaborate to create an opportunity for her students to take part in the Hurricane Harvey Book Club."
Inigo began the project with a classroom discussion on empathy, and the group brainstormed ideas of what items might be needed by those who were stranded in homes or living in shelters. Students identified happiness, connection, laughter, and relief from boredom as necessities, and then chose stories that matched their messages. After a little practice, they recorded the stories and messages to share with the Texas community.
"Not only does this serve as a meaningful project, but it is great practice in reading fluently and with expression," noted Inigo.
"We also loved that it is a meaningful, real-life way to use technology to show that one person can have a positive impact on the lives of others. The videos have been posted to the Hurricane Harvey Book Club Facebook page, and shared on Ms. FitzHenry's blog for families to watch together and share."
FitzHenry and Inigo hope that the local families will find additional ways to share the videos, especially with those who might benefit within the Charlottesville community.
Hurricane Harvey Book Club logo from Publisher's Weekly. To view NBC 29 coverage of these fourth grade students, please visit Students from St. Anne's-Belfield School Read to Hurricane Harvey Victims. To listen to WVTF coverage, please visit Virginia Kids' Unique Gift to Hurricane Harvey Victims.