Storyline Online … when you’re too tired or busy to read to your child

This week I’ve been exploring the Internet under a self-appointed mission to see what’s out there to help parents who are too tired after working all day to read to their young children; or who have kids of different ages who can’t figure out how to read to all of them given the realities of time.

After searching using key words ─ literacy, reading, reading to children ─ an online option wonderfully emerged out of e-world that would really work for these situations and many others. Storyline Online is a program of the Screen Actors Guild, part of the Guild’s commitment to children’s literacy. Storyline Online offers an online streaming video program featuring celebrities reading children’s books out loud. The actors read the story and the artwork comes alive through video production. I watched five stories tonight.  My favorites so far are Elijah Wood reading “Me and My Cat,” and Betty White reading “Harry the Dirty Dog.”

Storyline Online got its start 12 years ago through a grant from Verizon. The purpose is to strengthen comprehension, verbal and written skills of English language learners worldwide.  The program started with five videos featuring actors reading children’s books ─ now the site offers 19. There are also supplemental activities for each book that have been developed by an educator. Two important advantages of this site: you can access it 24/7 and it’s free.

I read through the many testimonials to see who’s using the site and why. There are many teachers using it in their classrooms to supplement their teaching activities. Some librarians in other countries indicate they don’t have enough books in their libraries so this helps to supplement their resources. There are students studying English in other countries who use the site to help them learn English. And yes, there are those working parents and grandparents who use the site on those nights when they’re too tired to read to their children and grandchildren. I especially liked the 45 year old living in Paris who just likes stories read aloud to her.

This is a cool site. Check it out if you need help reading to children – or if you just want someone to read you a great children’s story. I plan to go back and listen myself to more stories, for sure:




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