Monday, December 28, 2020

Adapting to Virtual Reading Clubs During a Pandemic

In light of the COVID-19 coronavirus and based on the advice from our partner schools and the LAUSD, on March 12th we had to cancel our March 14 "Music and Celebrations" reading clubs (and soon after our April 11th "Amazing Animals" reading clubs) on our partner school campuses. 

We always follow our schools' lead when it comes to the reading clubs, and under these circumstances we certainly agreed that it was best for all that the reading clubs not occur on the campuses until the schools re-open. 

Notably, March 2020 was the first time in the almost 21-year history of Reading to Kids that no reading club happened on the second Saturday of the month at one of our partner schools. 

Our eight partner schools, volunteer Taskforce, and staff were all sad of what lead us to cancelling our first reading club, but we all as a team also understood that it was a necessary action. Nevertheless, our team quickly dedicated themselves to finding a virtual method of reaching our students for ongoing reading clubs.  During that process a wonderful family at one of our partner schools sent a photo to one of our teachers - the two children had created their own March 14th reading clubs at home, with the brother reading aloud to his sister and her stuffed animals, all with name tags just like we use at our reading clubs! 

In April several of our most famous (to the kids at our schools, anyway) volunteers recorded video greetings to the kids that we posted to our YouTube channel at  Check them out in our Site Coordinator Hellos to the Kids at our Schools playlist at!

As our team and experienced volunteers prepared to launch our "virtual" reading clubs in May 2020, we also created temporary volunteer opportunities for new volunteers by encouraging them to create book read-aloud videos for our K-5th graders. 

Every day or two we featured new videos at, as well as posted links to other great read-aloud sources for visitors to enjoy. Then as we ramped up for our virtual reading clubs, we moved all of that fantastic content from our homepage to its own page at , where we continue to add new read-aloud videos created by our volunteers. 

It is our hope that our students and families were able to enjoy the volunteer read-aloud videos until we launched our first virtual reading clubs. With the success of our May 9, 2020 virtual reading clubs, our team realized that this new method would work during the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Our virtual reading clubs continue to work with the ongoing support of our teachers and volunteer Taskforce members until we are able to return to our school campuses for face-to-face reading clubs.

Due to their unwavering support of Reading to Kids, we would like to shine the spotlight on one of our partner-school teachers and volunteers. Ms. Liebe-Zelazny, one of our committed teachers at Alta Loma, has volunteered with us for nine years at our reading clubs and has continued to be our biggest supporter as a teacher Zoom "Host" during our virtual reading clubs since May 2020. We recently acknowledged her with a milestone certificate for all her continued support on the 2nd Saturday of every month during our virtual reading clubs.

We also would like to highlight Christopher Martin, one of our most experienced volunteers, for helping us in many tasks required as we built our virtual reading clubs model. During the pandemic he supports our curriculum committee by converting the teacher-selected read-aloud books for our Zoom volunteers to easily read aloud wonderful stories to our students every second Saturday. Mr. Martin also created our Zoom training guide, and this month stepped up to volunteer as a Zoom Santa for our December reading clubs, along with five other incredible volunteers who joined our December 12th reading clubs as a Zoom Santa Claus. We truly cannot thank our volunteers enough for all that they do!

As we wrap up our virtual reading clubs for 2020, we are so excited to continue our virtual reading club experiences in 2021 with the support of our partner schools, volunteers, and Reading to Kids staff.

To support our efforts, please consider donating to our 2020 Annual Fund Drive today. 

Thank you in advance for your continued support.

Happy Holidays to you and your family!