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Elementary school teachers launch creative, socially-distanced storytime

Kids get outside while sharpening their literacy skills
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Posted at 6:01 PM, Sep 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-16 19:13:51-04

LAKEWOOD, Ohio — As News 5 and the Scripps Howard Foundation work to get brand new books to children from low-income families as part of our "If you Give a Child a Book" campaign, an elementary school in Lakewood is stepping up its literacy outreach as children continue to attend class from home.

“This is a great idea, get the kids outside, they can stay socially distanced and stay safe," said Abbey Gleason, Teacher, Lakewood City Schools.

The staff at Lincoln Elementary are sharpening reading skills while keeping their students connected to their community.

This week, the popular book "The Kissing Hand" is hanging up outside the school.

Each page of the story was enlarged, laminated and attached to the chain-link fence.

"We adapted it a little bit for the way our kids are learning this year on Zoom," said Gleason.

Gleason said the "Walk and Read" program is filling a void during the course of the day.

Gleason said the idea came from “trying to come up with creative ways to get them engaged. A reason for them to come to school besides just to pick up materials and breakfast and lunch."

It was an opportunity to leave home that the Salo family appreciates.

“We don’t have a lot of options to go anywhere these days so being outside is nice. It’s cute," said Heidi Salo.

Erik Salo said the program is proof the district is listening to what parents want and need during this challenging time.

"The support we’ve gotten from Lincoln and the Lakewood school system has been really good,” said Erik Salo.

The unique storytime is strengthening reading skills and a sense of community despite being socially distanced.

“Having stuff like this, especially for the kindergartners that are just coming in so that they understand that this is their school and brings them up here and engages them — it’s really neat," Salo said.

The plan is to continually change out these books for stories that will appeal to all grade levels as remote learning continues.

"I would encourage every family to come up and see what’s new every couple weeks," said Heidi Salo.

This year we’re doing something a little different, we’re reaching out to our viewers and asking them to join us in supporting the Scripps Howard Foundation’s "If you Give a Child a Book" campaign.

The Foundation will match every dollar, up to $5,000, donated by our viewers allowing us to purchase more books for low-income children in our community.

You can donate at news5cleveland.com/giveabook

The link takes donors directly to the Scripps Howard Foundation’s donor page.