December 8th, 2020
When COVID-19 hit and schools closed throughout the country, our RedRover Readers and Kind News magazine teams went into brainstorming mode: How could we continue to provide our resources to teachers and students? Up to that point, we had only done in-person RedRover Readers classroom readings, and the magazine was in print format.
The RedRover Readers team knew that adapting our classroom readings to virtual ones was essential in order to continue helping students practice empathy using books and discussions about animals. Enter Zoom video conferencing. This format proved to be a perfect way to engage participants, by screen-sharing the e-book and facilitating a lively discussion using the chat function. Throughout the virtual reading series, we were able to connect with school classrooms, summer camps, library groups, and families homeschooling their children.
Because we are now hosting all of our readings online, we were even able to showcase animals in a safe, accessible way. We invited some very special animal guests, like Glimmer the hospital therapy dog, to some of our virtual readings. Since beginning our virtual readings in May 2020, we have reached over 350 students around the world!
For the Kind News team, it was “all hands on deck” to create a digital version of the magazine that could be accessible to schools and children from home. We quickly piloted a new flipbook format of the magazine. This digital version was automatically provided to all subscribers and posted on our website as a free download.
The response from educators to the updates in our programs was exciting to see! Here’s what some had to say:
“RedRover Readers provided a wonderful opportunity for our campers to engage with them virtually with stories that focused on empathy. Our RedRover guest always asked stimulating questions and guided activities that encouraged our campers to think critically about animal-related experiences and how to help.”
-Paige Fix, Wisconsin Humane Society
“We were able to use the Kind News digital issue as a send-home reading and discussion during distance learning. It was a great way to connect our classroom with the craziness of online learning!”
-Alli Debrow, 5th grade teacher – Ravenel, SC
“I am so thankful to have this amazing resource available online. My third graders have become stronger readers and critical thinkers from reading Kind News! I can’t wait to use it with my students via Zoom!”
-Graciela Romero Martinez, 3rd Grade teacher – Goleta, CA
Although 2020 has been challenging, we are so thankful to be able to continue our work of fostering empathy and kindness in children!