Reading to Children Through the Pandemic

by | May 21, 2020

Above: EG Free Library’s Melissa Tetreault has conducted storytimes from her home since the library closed in March.

By Aiza Shaikh

While we can now pick up books from the East Greenwich Free Library, we still can’t go inside. For some of us, this may not seem too big a deal. But for children who used to regularly attend storytime at the library, it’s a huge deal. 

Ever since the library closed in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic, children haven’t been able to sit at the library for weekly storytimes. Children’s librarian Melissa Tetreault knew the importance of storytime to children and wanted to change that. So, she decided to make videos from her own home. 

“It’s different when reading books online,” says Tetreault. “I’m hoping the videos give the children a tiny bit of ‘normal.’” 

Tetreault started out with a weekly video singing songs and rhymes. After receiving a lot of positive feedback and support on her videos, she began uploading around three videos a week. She has also started making craft videos using materials that a lot of us already have at home. 

All of Tetreault’s videos can be found on the EG Library’s Facebook page HERE. The videos that include a reading of a book can only remain on the site for 24 hours due to publishing and copyright issues. However, the craft, song, and rhyme videos can be seen anytime. 

Tetreault realizes a lot of parents might be trying to limit their kids’ screen time. She gives parents the option of either showing the videos to their kids, or watching the videos themselves and teaching the songs and rhymes to their kids. 

Melissa Tetreault shows kids a craft.

The Facebook videos have become a success. “This is like a light in dark times,” says Tetreault. “I’ve missed the children, and the children have missed me.” 

Tetreault emphasizes that the videos are for people of all ages. She also encourages the community to follow the Facebook page. “Keep your eyes peeled for details about the summer reading program,” she says. 

The summer reading program is always one of the most popular programs at the library. Tetreault says the staff are trying their best to make it happen this year. They’re currently in the process of modifying it. 

If you have any questions for Tetreault or the Children’s department, you can send an email to [email protected]

And learn more about what the library is offering during this time HERE.

Aiza Shaikh is a junior at East Greenwich High School when she isn’t reporting for EG News.

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