Saturday 19 October 2019

Teacher who reads bedtime stories via Facebook Live draws thousands of views

Dr Belinda George reads to her schoolchildren once a week during Tucked-in Tuesdays.

Dr George reads a story to schoolchildren on Facebook, and a stock image of two children watching a tablet in a tent (Belinda George and evgenyatamanenko/Getty Images)
Dr George reads a story to schoolchildren on Facebook, and a stock image of two children watching a tablet in a tent (Belinda George and evgenyatamanenko/Getty Images)

By Max McLean, Press Association

A teacher in Texas is gathering quite an audience for her bedtime reading sessions which she films on Facebook Live.

Dr Belinda George, 42, is a first-year principal at Homer Drive Elementary in Beaumont, and began reading stories to her schoolchildren in December 2018.

And now, just a few months on, Dr George has attracted an audience of thousands to what she terms Tucked-in Tuesdays, including people who don’t even go to her school.

“I knew that the children were going to go on a Christmas break, and I was going to miss them and I wouldn’t get to read or interact with them,” Dr George told the Press Association.

“That prompted me to start doing the stories live.”

The social media idea has proved a clever way for Dr George to get around the fact that, in her own words, “as a principal it’s kind of hard to get into classrooms, so this way I can read to them at least once a week.”

Books are read in group assemblies, while the school librarian reads to the kids as well, but with Tucked-in Tuesdays the kids can interact with the story along with their parents.

“Every kid that’s on there, their parent is right there,” said Dr George. “I’ll say their names which is their favourite part, to hear their names.

“I’ll say something that’s kind of sad, something that happens to the character, and they’ll put a sad emoji. It’s them interacting, and my favourite part is I’ll ask questions and they’ll type in their little answers.”

(Homer Drive Elementary/Facebook)

So engaging are the reading sessions that families have started tuning in from across the USA, something it’s fair to say has taken Dr George by surprise.

“It’s a little weird! I’m a very open person, I love kids and to me I’m just reading a book to my babies,” she said.

The success of Tucked-in Tuesdays has inevitably led to authors reaching out, with some sending books and even offering to come and read at the school.

Meanwhile Dr George has extended invitations to authors to join her as guests, while one student has been so inspired that he has been writing a story for her to read.

(Homer Drive Elementary/Facebook)

But Dr George believes that perhaps the biggest lesson isn’t an educational one.

“On Tuesdays I don’t go anywhere after I read because it would be horrible if the kids saw me if I tucked them in and then I’m out!” she said. “That’s my Tucked-in-Tuesday as well.

“The biggest lesson isn’t even educational, it’s that the kids know their principal cares beyond the end of the day. And all the other stuff, the reading and the writing, it’ll come.”

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