Curbing ‘brain drain’ with YouTube? W. MI school’s solution


FENNVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — Fennville Elementary is turning to YouTube to encourage summer reading.

The school’s new program, Summer Storytime Series, can be accessed on YouTube.

Fennville Elementary School teacher Terri DeRoo came up with the idea right before the end of the 2018-2019 school year.

“My own children spend time online and they are big into watching YouTubers and different things like that,” said DeRoo, who teaches fourth grade. “I thought, all kids have access to YouTube, and that would be an easy way to reach every family.”

A new story is added to the YouTube series every morning around 8 a.m. All of the videos are available for students to watch anytime.

A variety of people connected to Fennville Public Schools narrate the stories, from teachers and bus drivers to a superintendent. The type of stories also vary, from fiction to non-fiction and classic favorites.

“Most of the time I think they just listen to the story, but it still provides them with rich vocabulary and they get introduced to a lot of different staff at the school here,” explained DeRoo.

The goal of the new Summer Storytime Series is to keep kids learning and avoid starting a new school year in fall with summer “brain drain.”

“Knowing that my child is online reading a book, it’s a little easier for me to handle then you know, 10 minutes on Fortnite,” said DeRoo.

The Summer Storytime Series YouTube channel started last month with 20 subscribers and has since grown to more than 150 subscribers. DeRoo said their goal is to reach 1,000 subscribers so they can start livestreaming videos during next year’s Summer Storytime Series.

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