When Virginia leaders announced in March 2020 that schools across the Commonwealth would close for the remaining academic year due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, the education staff at WHRO Public Media quickly pivoted their normal routines to seek new ways to support teachers and parents as they ventured into at-home learning. Since her team couldn’t read to children in person, Martha Razor, manager of early childhood learning, decided to bring the stories to students virtually.
Each week on Facebook, Martha reads a new story aloud. Rather than reading the books that children may already know, or could possibly find on their shelves at home, Martha reads stories that were submitted in previous years to the WHRO annual Young Storytellers Contest. These short tales are stories written by children, for children, with accompanying illustrations. The show airs every Friday at 10 a.m. on the WHRO Facebook page, and previous episodes can be found at whro.org/marthareads.
While WHRO has offered the Young Storytellers Contest since 2009, its connection to Ms. Martha Reads was born in 2020; the resulting marriage of storytelling and creative expression highlights the talent of our region’s youngest minds, as well as supports parents and caregivers in at-home learning.