BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — For the students in Wajeha Chaudhry's third grade class, reading doesn't stop in the classroom.
She said she was concerned about whether or not her kids were being exposed to reading at home.
“We see our scores start off pretty low for our kiddos and a lot of it is because they are not exposed to vocabulary, to reading, to having books around," said Ms. Chaudhry. "So those things that we think are just simple fixes sometimes are just not as simple because families just don’t have them in their home."
She's taken to Youtube to read to her students from home, her backyard, and even family vacation. Ms. Chaudhry has even enlisted the help of 'celebrity readers' to help engage her students.
Fellow teachers, her own children and law enforcement officers have all made appearances on her Youtube channel reading their favorite books.
“I think it’s very important for them to see police officers one-on-one, put a familiar face and especially for the little girls out there to know that they could do and be anything they want to be,” said Bakersfield Police Deparmtnet Tactical Flight Officer Andrea Phlugh.
She read a book to kids about an officer and K-9 partner
“They’ll ask about it," Ms. Chaudhry said about the excitement the videos have created. "Sometimes I will give them hints to which video is going to be released with a special guest reader. Then when they get back to school that Monday they will talk about, 'oh did you see the police dog in the video.”
She says the videos are making a difference for her students one story at a time.
"Once they can read, I tell all my students, 'you can do anything,'" said Ms. Chaudhry. "If you can read you can be a doctor, an astronaut, a police officer, because everything you need to learn is written down. So if you can read, there’s no limits to what you can do.”
You can find the Youtube channel here.