Photo Courtesy of Dan Wei Zuo
For young children a huge part of learning comes from reading stories. Unfortunately, virtual school has ensured that kids today do not get to experience it the same way. To help students experience reading stories, the WCHS Reading for All Club has found a way to make sure younger elementary students still experience reading through Zoom calls.
Dan Wei Zuo created this club during the 2019-2020 school year to make a difference in elementary school students’ lives. As advisor, Mrs. Deli, a 10th-grade English teacher, helps wherever she is needed, whether that is helping coordinate with other schools and teachers, helping with the Zoom reading sessions or helping with book drives.
“I wanted to be the advisor for Reading for All because first and foremost I am a lover of books and wanted to pass that love on as much as possible,” Deli said. “Also, Dan Wei Zuo is a great promoter and sucked me right in.”
Last year, Reading for All focused on book drives and donating books for students as well as community programs that were in need, however the club has made major changes to make it safer and have less contact between people in the community.
“Before COVID, our club was focused on the collection and donation of books. We weren’t able to do that this year so we decided to start our online reading program,” Zuo said. “I wanted to continue the Reading for All club, but couldn’t figure out a way to have people donate books in a safe way during the pandemic. I decided to pivot the club from book collection to online reading.”
These reading sessions take place on Zoom, which makes it easier to get bigger groups of students. Each member of the club gets assigned a teacher or class of elementary school students that they read to on a weekly basis. The books read are children’s books and range from genres such as fantasy or realistic fiction. This variety makes sure that all students are engaged and interested in the stories.
The Reading for All club initially got a response from teachers from 35 different elementary schools across Montgomery County including Barnsley, Cloverly, Mill Creek Towne, Watkins Mill and Whetstone.
The club members are giving back to the younger community through books and creating an environment for young kids to learn and fall in love with reading. The readers can also earn student service learning hours during their reading Zoom sessions.
“My favorite part of the club is knowing that what I’m doing is making a difference in the lives of many kids. These kids have been isolated from their friends and peers for so long,” Zuo said. “Knowing that I’m able to provide them with something to look forward to while also helping them to learn is truly a great feeling.”