OTTAWA — Ottawa-Glandorf students are getting the opportunity to have teachers and leaders in the district read to them in a virtual reading program called “Titan Tuck In.”
Don Horstman, Ottawa-Glandorf schools superintendent, got the idea from a similar program Liberty-Benton Elementary School started last fall. His brother, Ken, is the assistant principal there, and on Christmas Eve he posted a video of himself reading “A Visit From St. Nicholas” (often called “‘Twas the night before Christmas”) by Clement Clarke Moore. His post was part of a weekly Facebook event where a staff member posted a story reading a favorite book to the students.
Students and their parents can log on to the Ottawa-Glandorf Local Schools’ Facebook page at 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays to watch a staff member read a story to them. At this point, there is a reading schedule that goes until the end of the school year.
“What I am hoping to get out of this program is to keep some sense of normalcy by developing another way to keep our Titan family connected,” Horstman said.
“Our staff members miss being around the students, and I think most of the students miss being at school. The hope is that Titan Tuck In will help keep us all connected during the school closure.”
Tricia Brinkman, a kindergarten teacher at Ottawa Elementary, and Robyn Schmiedebusch, a kindergarten teacher at Glandorf Elementary, developed a voting lesson for students, where they picked their book choice from among two of Horstman’s favorite books, “Guess How Much I Love You” and “It’s Fun To Be A Buckeye.”
Horstman requested for Brinkman and Schmiedebusch to develop a book list, based on kindergarten classroom themes. Horstman reached out to administrative staff to be the initial readers for the program. Readers have the option of choosing their own favorite books or to choose a book from among the classroom themes/book suggestions.
Horstman delivered the results of the kindergarten election via the district’s Facebook page. He was accompanied by one of his rabbits, as the book winner, “Guess How Much I Love You,” includes bunnies as the main characters.
Brinkman said Titan Tuck In is a valuable program for Titan families, as it will be able to get families connected with the district’s Facebook page.
“Families will get to know the faces of Ottawa-Glandorf administration and other Titan community members, building even more relationships among our small towns,” Brinkman said.
“Reading to children holds much value, including vocabulary development, expansion of attention spans, strengthening of imaginations, and building comprehension skills, such as predicting, problem-solving, empathizing, and retelling.”
Horstman read “Guess How Much I Love You,” and Tyson McGlaughlin, O-G athletic director and varsity basketball coach, read his favorite basketball book, “Dream Big,” to his son. Audrey Beining, Ottawa Elementary’s principal, read “The Very Lonely Firefly” while on her “campsite,” complete with a tent and fire.
Schmiedebusch said the program is important because it helps the community stay connected and inspires the children to keep reading while they are learning at home.
“When a child sees an adult they know or a coach or a sports figure reading, it often inspires them to do the same,” Schmiedebusch said.
“Reading aloud to children helps them to develop their own interest in reading and it inspires them to look at more books that center around the topic or character.”
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.