Most kids love to hear bedtime stories. Unfortunately, their parents might be too busy to read to them. Zaria and Hailey Willard, two sisters from Delaware, understood this and decided to live stream their bedtime story reading session on Facebook.
“Our main purpose is to read a book of our choice each night at a designated time so that children can have a bedtime story each night. We are already reading each night but we thought it may be beneficial for children who don’t get this luxury. Parents sometimes work late or are too tired for stories. We are not only helping children, we are giving parents a nice break after a long day of work,” the sisters say on their Facebook page.
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Every Sunday, the sisters visit the local library and pick up books they will be reading for the week. They only choose books that have characters that relate to them. Every night at 8:00 p.m., the sisters read the books and then go off to bed. When they initially proposed the live streaming idea to their mom, Victoria Willard, they were met with resistance.
Victoria knew that there are mean people online who could hurt her children’s feelings. However, she slowly realized that her kids really wanted to go ahead with the project. “I didn’t think they were serious at first… But then I saw that they were. They had a whole plan. They started having meetings about what they were going to do,” she said to Delaware Online.
Victoria eventually agreed, but made sure that the kids agreed to her terms. The children are not allowed to respond to comments or messages without mom seeing them first. If the sisters want to follow some person, they have to get the approval of their mom. The kids also promised that they wouldn’t let fame go to their heads.
They are busy working on a series of children’s books as well. One takes care of the writing while the other does all the illustrations. Their Facebook page has more than 12,000 followers. Zaria is the oldest at 13 years of age while Hailey is only 8.
Bedtime stories have been found to rewire a kid’s brain in such a way that it speeds up their mastery of language. In one study, researchers looked at brain images of children who were considered poor readers. Verbal-processing areas of the brain showed little activity. But once researchers spent eight weeks with the kids, reading to them two hours every day, the brain activity changed and displayed a similar pattern to kids who were considered good readers.
“To break down unknown words into pieces, you have to first know the pieces… When kids hear the word cat, for example, they usually hear it folded up as one sound (cat) instead of three (c-a-t)… But when asked to say cat without the c, thus deleting the cuh sound to make at, they’ll more easily understand that words are made up of individual sounds,” Reid Lyon, chief of the child development and behavior branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, MD, said to Parents.
Rhyming books are ideal reading material. Over a period of time, the kids will pick up various words pronounced by the reader and expand their vocabulary. In fact, kids are likely to learn more new words through such reading activities than by only talking.