From the Classroom to Video


Ariane CohenWith schools closed, people across the community are finding creative ways to share educational experiences with children – and that includes ReadingPals, United Way of Broward County’s early literacy mentoring program.

Typically throughout the school year, ReadingPals volunteers visit local classrooms to work one-on-one with young students and help them learn to read at grade level. Now that classes are no longer in session due to COVID-19, these volunteers are inspiring a love of books by making videos of themselves reading. The videos are being sent to the schools for distribution to students.

One enthusiastic volunteer is Ariane Cohen, a ReadingPal who, over five years, has mentored 10 students. She loved reading with the students, helping them recognize the words in the books and conducting special hands-on projects. Today, under COVID-19 restrictions, she is recording herself reading some of her favorite books in English and Spanish. To date, there are 10 videos to Ariane’s credit.

For Ariane, reading with children has been a long-time passion. Many years ago, she volunteered at her young son’s school in Venezuela, created a small library for students and read to the children in his classroom. She quickly became known as “Ms. Library,” a nickname she carried with her when after moving to Broward County and enrolling in the United Way’s ReadingPals program.

So, what’s it like to go from reading in person with children to recording videos for them?  “I miss working with my kids in person,” says Ariane, “but I was happy to hear from ReadingPals about this opportunity to reach them in a different way. 

“At first, it was a bit awkward being on video, but now I like doing it,” she says. “I am hoping the kids are enjoying them and that those who know me will recognize ‘Ms. Library.’

“If children can hear stories and get engaged in reading this way, it’s amazing.”

You don’t have to be a ReadingPal to read a book on video for children. United Way of Broward County has opened up this opportunity to all members of our community. To learn how, click here.  

To share videos with your children that have already been recorded, visit our Facebook page.