By Dan Bechtold
Creative. Innovative. Helping fill a need.
During this time of COVID-19, young children still need to know the importance of reading.
Sharon Schramm, retired second grade teacher, loves to read to children and volunteered to come into the Tripp County Library and read to youths ages 4 to 8.
Her reading sessions started before the pandemic hit but have turned into a virtual reading session for children to enjoy.
The first time of a live program with kids present there as a huge snow storm and a lot of kids and parents were unable to make it into Winner.
However, there were some kids present.
Librarian Misti Burns explained the next time they had a reading there was a full house.
Plans were made for Schramm to read to the children once a month.
Then COVID-19 hit and everyone’s life was turned upside down. School was called off for the rest of the year and students were doing their learning on line. In place of face to face meetings with teachers, elementary students were having Zoom meetings with teachers.
During this pandemic, Schramm still wanted to help students. “One day Sharon called and said we need to do something for the kids. I am willing to come in and record my readings,” she said.
In the world of creative writing there are copyright laws that need to be followed.
With the help of the state library, Burns did some research on what publishers would allow. “It is not like you can pick up a book, start reading and post it on line. We had to follow the rules,” she explained.
Burns noted most the publishers were lenient so there were no copyright issues.
The librarian felt the best place to post the readings was on the library’s Facebook page.
Burns wanted to the readings in the story room since this was an area students were used to seeing.
There were a few glitches that had to worked out before they got the recording down just the way they wanted it.
Burns records on a tablet and purchased a tripod to get just the right height for recording.
The second time the women did a record the tablet showed it was full and it did not record so they women had to do it all over again.
“Sharon loves children and she loves to read to children,” said Burns.
The retired school teacher comes to the library to pick out a book. She puts a lot of thought into the reading and brings props the children will enjoy.
Burns noted there are some books that Schramm suggests that the library does not have so the books are ordered. “We use Sharon as a reference on good children’s books in the age range of 4-8,” said Burns.
When reading Schramm makes sure the children can see the pages of the book. “She talks to them just like they were sitting in front of her,” said Burns. “She does a good job.”
The readings will be posted the second and fourth Wednesday of each month by 10:30 a.m. on the library’s Facebook page.
Burns added Schramm will have a theme on some of her books like Valentine’s Day, Earth Day and next week there will be a book that talks about moms in honor of Mother’s Day.
The local librarian sees reading to children as very important. “It has been shown that reading to children is an important part of reading comprehension.”
Burns added with COVID-19 she sees the recorded readings important.
And that is where Schramm plays a vital role in reading stories that children will enjoy.
Our lives have been put into a whirlwind and there are so many virtual events happening to replace face to face meetings.
Burns noted the library could pull a famous author and have him or her read to kids but she likes the idea that it is a local person doing the reading. “These kids have connected with Sharon. They know who she is. I think it is important to have a local element as part of this program,” said Burns.
The librarian feels this is the perfect solution to reach children.
chramm uses the library a lot and Burns asked the retired teacher if she would be interested in reading to kids at story time. “I jumped at the chance. When I was teaching my favorite time of day was children literature and reading to kids,” she said.
Schramm taught school for over 25 years.
Once the virus hit and the there was no school for rest of the year, Schramm and Burns collaborated on how best to continue the reading without kids present. They came up with the idea to record Schramm reading.
“This is local and we wanted to make it available to kids in Tripp County,” she explained.
She said the recordings, which are on the library’s Facebook page, gets the kids excited about reading and keeps them engaged when they are not in school.
“If you read to them, they will want to read the book themselves. I always tell them this book is available at the library. I think the new curbside drive through is a wonderful opportunity for kids to read books,” she added.
Schramm does a lot of research into what book she chooses to read to the kids. She looks at several resources and reads reviews of the books. The reason she does so much research is that she does writing for children’s literature. She has had stories published in magazines and on line publications.
Schramm is a writer in addition to promoting passion for children’s literature.