United Way of Mid Coast Maine isn’t letting a pandemic stop them from hosting the annual Community Read Aloud. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event could not run as usual, with volunteers visiting classrooms across the region to share their favorite children’s book with them. Instead, there was a mix of pre-recorded videos and online virtual meetings.
A YouTube playlist was created with a dozen videos of various community members reading their favorite child’s book. Volunteer readers included Sagadahoc County Sheriff Joel Merry, Rep. Denise Hepler and Lois Skillings of Mid Coast – Park View Health. With an array of stories from baby books to chapter books, there’s a video for every child to enjoy. United Way has shared this reading list with more than 100 area schools and daycares, as well as local children’s librarians.
More than a dozen volunteers have offered to schedule a live reading online with classrooms at Phippsburg Elementary, West Bath Elementary and Williams-Cone School in Topsham. Peter Lindsay, a recently retired United Way staff member, had this to say about his experience reading the virtual community out loud: “I wish I was there in person rather than on screen, but it said, we had a great time! I read “A Chair for My Mother”, an old favorite, and “Doggies”, a counting chart book by Sandra Boynton in which we can all make the sounds of the different dogs. It’s fun to do as a group! Peter Read to Mrs. Baldwin’s kindergarten class at Phippsburg Elementary School.
United Way of Mid Coast Maine understands that early exposure to books and language is positively linked to school readiness and adult literacy. Sharing stories, songs and books with infants and young children helps prepare children to learn to read and succeed in school and beyond. Reading with young children also allows parents and child to bond, an important part of their growth and development. United Way of Mid Coast Maine will continue to offer this important event each year, with the hope that volunteers will return to classrooms next year. For now, people can watch the videos on the United Way of Mid Coast Maine YouTube page at www.youtube.com/channel/UCH5OluFj2h30zQWUvz6ybbQ
For more information, call 207-443-9752 or visit https://www.uwmcm.org