An elementary school principal in Texas is encouraging her students to love reading in a creative way … and it’s working!
This is Dr. Belinda George’s first year as the principal of Homer Drive Elementary in Beaumont, Texas.
Ninety-four percent of the students from her school come from “economically disadvantaged homes,” according to The Washington Post, and test results from last year show that only 55 percent of third-, fourth- and fifth-graders were reading at or above their recommended level.
That is why Dr. George has decided to really focus on literacy skills for all of the students.
In order to foster a love for reading outside of the classroom, she has begun a weekly tradition called “Tucked In by the Principal Tuesdays” where she get dressed in her cozy pajamas, curls up in a chair and reads a book to her students through Facebook Live.
“I want to extend what I do past 4 p.m. I’m not in every child’s home, so I don’t know if all or any of them have someone to read to them at night. This is just a way to give the children that exposure,” she told WPCF.
She begins each video individually greeting each student as they sign on and says hello before reading the story with colorful character voices and even laughing at her own mispronunciations along the way.
Whether she’s reading “Madeline’s Christmas,” “Ladybug Girl” or “Interrupting Chicken,” she asks her students questions and helps them retain certain parts of the story. She even helps the students relate the stories to their personal lives.
While reading “Ladybug Girl,” Dr. George read part of the story where Ladybug Girl’s brother told her that she couldn’t play with him because she was too small. Dr. George paused after she saw the perfect opportunity to help those watching relate to the story on a deeper level.
“How many of you have ever been told that you’re too little to do something?” she asked. “I have three older sisters, and they used to tell me I was too little to do something.”
“But guess what?” she continued. “I did it anyway.”
“The point is just to get the children interested in what is being read or what they are reading by relating it to things that they may be experiencing,” Dr. George explained.
Keava Turner, a mother of four children, says that her entire family gathers together to watch Dr. George on Tuesday nights.
“I love it because all of my children watch it. I have a 14-year-old, a third-grader and first-grader who go to Homer, and my 10-month-old even sits still to watch,” Turner said.
Some of Dr. George’s videos have gained over two thousand views not only from those enrolled at Homer Drive but from all over the country.
Since she has become principal and directed the school to focus on literacy. With activities like “Tucked In by the Principal Tuesdays,” the school has seen a drastic change in its students’ literacy rates.
“Honestly, the reason why I do it … I don’t have kids, so I always wanted to be this great mom,” she told KFDM. “So one thing, I can be a great mom and still have that connection with my kids and not be intrusive on families, is to do Tucked In Tuesdays.”
She told WPBF, “I don’t have children of my own, so I love these kids with all my heart.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.