Talk about going the extra mile! Meet Dr. Belina George, a 42-year old woman from Southeast Texas who has recently become the principal of the Homer Driver Elementary School in Beaumont, and has recently started doing something very special for her pupils.
During her first year at the school, she had already noticed that not every student was able to hear a bedtime story at night. She also wanted to motivate and encourage her pupils to read more often but didn’t quite know how.
Almost 95 percent of her school students come from financially challenged homes. Another worrying number was that only 55 percent were able to read on their grade level. Some families simply didn’t have to means or time to read at home, so Belina decided to take matters into her own hands.
“I don’t know if they are read to or not at home,” the principal said to The Washington Post.
One day, she stumbled upon a great idea from a Facebook group: she could just read for them instead!
That way she’d be sure that every child at the school and beyond had the opportunity to hear a bedtime story once in a while. She already does plenty of reading sessions in person at school, but it’s important for young kids to hear those stories at home too. Almost everybody has access to the internet, so live streaming via Facebook Live was the way to go.
To make her students feel more comfortable and to create a more familiar bond, Belina does everything in her pajamas!
“Children will not trust you until you give them a reason to,” the school principal said to Good Morning America. “As an educator, you must build relationships with each child that you encounter. Relationships are the key to trust and student growth. If a child feels loved, they will try. There’s no science behind it. When dealing with children, you have to remember that no matter what they do, they are children. No matter the behavior, they all want to be loved and nurtured.”
Often equipped with a cozy and cute onesie, she reads to her audience every Tuesday night at around seven thirty. She broadcasts directly from her living room and the video stream is shared on the school’s official channels. They’ve even come up with a name for the great weekly sessions: “Tucked-in Tuesdays”.
The response to the videos was absolutely astonishing, not only from the students themselves but from the parents as well.
The fact that the school principals reads to the kids in her PJs makes the whole thing more memorable and is often a reason for them to tune in.
“Kids will come up to me Wednesday and say, ‘Dr. George, I saw you in your PJs reading!,” Belina told. “They’ll tell me their favorite part of the book.”
And it seems like the kind woman is a natural at reading to these kids! She always manages to add a couple of fun twists and enjoys giving the different characters some distinctive, animated voices.
“My parents and scholars absolutely love it.,” she recalls. “They know my love for their children is beyond the end of the day and definitely beyond Friday.”
Even though the Tuck-in Tuesday videos were only meant for her 680 students, plenty of children from all of the country and even the world wouldn’t want to miss one of her reading sessions.
“If nobody else tells you, Dr. George loves you,” she said to her students in one of her reading sessions.
Some live stream sessions, which are published as regular videos on the Facebook page afterward, even attracted more than two thousand viewers. Her older videos have since been viewed thousands of times as well.
“I love children, and I just want to help my parents in any way that I can. I am just doing what I love and that is honoring children,” she concluded.
What an absolutely amazing school principal and great idea to foster a love for reading!
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Posted by Homer Drive Elementary on Tuesday, February 19, 2019