Sunday, 01 August 2021
A TEACHING assistant from Nettlebed is keeping in contact with her pupils by reading stories to them over the internet.
Vicki Thomas looks after the reception class at Checkendon Primary School and decided to start her own YouTube channel because of how much the children love story time.
She has worked at the school, where her children Livi, nine, and Wills, seven, are pupils, for two years.
When the school was forced to close because of the coronavirus lockdown, Mrs Thomas started to think of ways to help her class and other children across the country.
Every weekday at 4.15pm, she goes into her children’s playroom and live streams a story using different voices for the characters.
Mr Thomas said: “I started it because story time was typically the favourite time of the day for the kids in reception.
“They are only little – they are four and five years old and it is a lovely little school and we have become like a family.
“I only have six children in the class and you get to spend lots of time with them every day. You get to really know them and then all of a sudden you don’t get to see them anymore and they don’t get to see me. It is hard.
“The older kids are more understanding, but the younger ones find it harder and to change their routine of seeing us every day is difficult for them.
“I was trying to think of ways to stay in contact and I thought it is not just my kids going through this and I can put it on YouTube so that all kids can watch it.”
For her first reading, she chose The Rhyming Rabbit by Julia Donaldson. Mrs Thomas, 40, reads to her children every night and says this has been good practice and helps her to feel more natural when she is recording herself.
She said: “Once you are live you just have to go with it and if you make a mistake you have to move on.”
“For bedtime, my children and I all lie together and I read to them. We are reading the first Harry Potter book at the moment. I have read them all the Roald Dahl books and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I have got more confident reading to them and bringing the books to life a bit more by doing silly voices and being a little bit more playful. I find it easier not having an audience.”
Mrs Thomas, who is married to Andy, 41, a self-employed management consultant, has spent most of her working life as a nanny.
She feels it is important for young children to enjoy reading and will continue to read every weekday for as long as the lockdown continues.
“Who knows how long this will go on for?” she said. “It is nice for them to have something they can regularly tune into to round off the day when people are looking for an activity and can enjoy a bit of quiet time. I might do some stories outside when the weather improves if it doesn’t look too bright on the screen. “The children are at a very important age and reading is important. They came to us in September not knowing any letters at all and it also gets their imagination going.
“We always talk about the stories afterwards and how they are feeling. It is also about having that interaction with them.”
To watch her next video, visit tinyurl.com/srm26tc
22 April 2020
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