Alcott parents and educators partner to create virtual storytime for Black History Month

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Alcott Elementary’s school community created a weekly virtual storytime during Black History Month, bringing student readers from the Blended instructional model and those attending Westerville Virtual Academy together.

Fifth-grade students served as readers, recording a video of themselves reading a picture book through the FlipGrid platform. Their videos were distributed each week through email and the Alcott PTA Facebook page. 

Parent Cher Perry proposed the idea to PTA President Ryan Hilperts after Perry’s son, who attends WVA, completed a project where students read a picture book that represented their cultural heritage. 

“I immediately thought this would be a fun way to engage our students and their families while educating them as well,” said Perry, who serves on the PTA’s Diversity and Inclusion committee.

She said her son’s class uses FlipGrid as a way to share videos and connect with their classmates and thought the platform would be a perfect way to create the storytime videos and combine readers from WVA and Blended.

The featured readers include:

  • Landon Perry, who attends Westerville Virtual Academy — “When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop” by Laban Carrick Hill

  • Amarie Tull, who attends Westerville Virtual Academy — “Computer Decoder: Dorothy Vaughan, Computer Scientist” by Andi Diehn

  • Julian Bradley — “The Story of Ruby Bridges” by Robert Coles

  • Jackson Dues — “A picture book of Frederick Douglass” by David A. Adler

She said the Alcott community was so supportive every week with encouraging comments for each student. The videos received more than 240 views at the end of the month. As a result, the PTA plans to continue the storytime videos with a new set of readers for Women’s History Month.

“The parents of the students did a great job of discussing the project with them and allowing them to choose a book that they wanted to share,” Perry said. “It was fun to watch the videos before they were released each week and learn more about the individuals they selected. I am so proud of all of them.”

Watch the videos here.