On Monday, March 30, students were notified of a new campuswide initiative called Wake Reads. Launched by the Office of Civic and Community Engagement (OCCE), Wake Reads is a program through which students and faculty members can virtually share stories with children from Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.
Amid the suspension of in-person classes, the OCCE is creating new opportunities for the university to connect with the Winston-Salem community. After Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools cancelled in-person classes through May 15, parents reached out to the OCCE with concerns about how to help their children adjust to remote learning.
Wake Reads is a response to these concerns. It allows parents of children ages 3 to 10 to use the university community as a resource to help their children remain academically engaged. As many young children may feel confused right now, Wake Reads will serve as a positive educational tool for them during an uncertain time.
Marianne Magjuka, the assistant dean and executive director of the OCCE, hopes that Wake Reads will successfully provide reading assistance, educational activities and support for children.
“We have been trying to provide educational resources through our website that are curated in one place, free and accessible,” Magjuka said. “We thought this would be a good way to involve the whole community.”
The instructions to participate in Wake Reads are simple. University students have to record themselves reading an age-appropriate children’s book and upload it to the link located in the email sent out on March 30. They should create reading comprehension questions, use voice inflection and provide an age recommendation for each story. After students upload their videos to the link, the OCCE will review and subsequently post them on their YouTube Channel.
Furthermore, this YouTube channel contains videos beyond just those from Wake Reads. In fact, when students visit the link to send in their videos, they will notice they have many options as to which type of video they would like to submit: videos for Wake Reads, Kids Cooking (nutrition and cooking demonstrations) or STEM@Wake (science demonstrations).
After the Kids’ Cooking Coalition program was suspended on campus, Kids Cooking videos are designed to help children finish that curriculum. Students have submitted a variety of cooking videos thus far, including lessons on how to make tacos and protein bars. As for STEM@Wake, senior Yassmin Shaltout has already organized a video that teaches children how to make lava lamps at home, and includes a lesson on gravity.
Magjuka suggests interested students visit the OCCE’s website and specifically read the tab titled “Virtual Engagement.” If they would like to watch example videos, Magjuka recommends that they visit the OCCE’s YouTube channel, where they can see how fellow Deacs have already participated in this initiative.
“It is such an uncertain time, and it is important to build community right now,” Magjuka said. “This is an opportunity for Wake Forest students to think about how to remain civically engaged, even while they are spread across the country.”