While classes are not in session for schools around the state, one Enterprise State Community College instructor has used this time reach out to those in the community with a daily “story time” on Youtube.
Kathy Pattie has been an English teacher at ESCC since 2006 and a big proponent of literacy and reading. Pattie wanted to help out in some way during this time when all students and many parents around the state are stuck at home.
“I was sitting there noticing parents who were frustrated and lower elementary teachers who were going, ‘what can I even do while my kids are out’ and I kind of remember when my kids were little and I just needed a five-minute break from them so I could get some work done,” Pattie remembered. “I also just enjoy reading stories to children and I want them to love books. So, I thought I can do this to help out the teachers, the kids and the parents while we’re out for awhile.”
That is when “Story Time with Sugah” was born. Every day Pattie reads a different children’s story and the video is posted to ESCC’s Youtube channel. Pattie said that it’s important that those in the community understand that ESCC is their school.
“We are a community college and I don’t think a lot of people realize that means we serve the entire community, even if they’re little or their parents are never going to come here,” she continued. “We’re still their college. I was just sitting there feeling sort of helpless and I didn’t feel like I could serve my own students as well as I could have had we stayed face-to-face. I asked myself ‘what could I do that helps somebody’ and here we are.”
The origin of story time’s name was simple.
“That’s (from) my grandson Jaxon,” Pattie said. “He’s made me a “Sugah.”
Pattie said that she’s been pleased with the response from the community.
“It’s been really fun,” she said. “I had one comment from a former student that said her little girl asked if they could have the book I was reading in her room. That was pretty cool.”
Pattie wanted to make sure that children that were watching the videos could also read along with the stories.
“I started out trying to do the videos myself but I kept dropping the book or the iPad and messing it up some way,” she said. “I got (my husband) Lance to help me and since then I got him to make it where you can see the words so that a kid could read along and maybe improve their reading while doing it. If I could get kids addicted to books at this age maybe they’ll be readers when they’re my age, too.”
The support from the ESCC administration throughout the school closure – including with the “Story Time with Sugah” project – has been big, according to Pattie.
“We’ve had phone calls from our president and our dean of instruction and E-mails daily telling us they will do whatever they can to help us,” Pattie emphasized. “(ESCC President) Matt Rodgers went and borrowed googles of Chromebooks for our students that didn’t have computers at home. Everybody has really pitched in to make this as easy as we can for the students and the faculty. It’s been wonderful.”
Pattie said that while she had planned to eventually stop doing the story time, she’s received support from ESCC to continue.
“When I first started I thought, ‘okay, I’ll do this until the world’s kind of off quarantine,’ but when you have a supportive school it makes things easy sometimes,” she said. “My school is letting me do a literacy campaign next year or my personal development plan and I have a little free library on my porch that I hope to eventually bring on campus.
“I’m going to keep reading the stories and they’ve approved that, too. What I would like to do when school starts back is I’d like for elementary teachers to call and say they want ‘Sugah’ to come read to their classes on Friday mornings.”