Former teacher returns to classroom in virtual reading class

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — It’s been two years since Alyshia Taylor has stepped foot into a classroom, but in the time of COVID-19, she has found her way back into the educational role. 

“I just loved it and missed being in the classroom. I have a passion for this,” Taylor said, as she set up her new, virtual learning center. 

During the summer, the former preschool teacher began to see a need for educational tools outside of school. She acts as a tutor for families with children who are in early education. 

Since the start of the pandemic, she has seen a higher number of families who need extra help with reading skills.

“I just thought, why not open a reading cafe, where we can do this together as a group,” Taylor said. 

Every week, she picks out a specific picture book to read to children in early education through the first grades of elementary school. 

Using Facebook Live, she then reads that book in a way that is meant to engage and educate those families who watch. 

“I’ve gotten requests from parents, ‘Can I incorporate math; can I incorporate colors; can I incorporate sight words; can I incorporate questions to where their children understand the story?’”

While Taylor described those who watch her live reads as being multi-community members, she has seen a larger engagement from African American and Hispanic families. Reports show that those are the families who struggle the most in virtual learning in the classroom. 

Taylor said she has tried to pick out books that engage those children.

“I’ve gotten books that can cater to their culture, or where they come from. So that their kids can understand that it’s not just one concept or one thing,” Taylor said.

The future of The Reading Cafe will include reading times for older students.

Taylor said she also is in need of book donations from members of the community. 

To find out more about The Reading Cafe, or how to donate books, click here.

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