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Locals read to children through Facebook


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What started as a group of Roswell friends reading to each other’s children in a time of social distancing is growing into a much larger group.

A Facebook group, NM Nightly Read Alouds, was started this week by Roswell Independent School District board member Hope Morales after she and some friends decided to read a book on Facebook live each night during the three-week break from school ordered by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to help prevent spread of the coronavirus.

“It was actually an idea that I saw others doing across the state, and I thought that was a great idea, why don’t we steal it and do something like that in our community. So I posted about it,” she told the Roswell Daily Record.

“Roswell folks! Fun challenge … let’s pick a night during the break to read a book on Facebook live! That way kiddos get to hear a fun book each night from someone different in their community!” Morales posted Monday on her Facebook account.

She read “Macca the Alpaca” that night.

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“Right away, we had plenty of volunteers. People signed up to read at 7 p.m. every night this week,” she said.

“At first, I was thinking it could be something for my small group of friends and we could connect. But I had other parents and families reaching out that I didn’t know, who loved the idea and who wanted to share it with their friends and families,” Morales said.

The group was created Tuesday and now stands at more than 280 members. The group is public, so anyone can join or just watch the videos.

The group is growing beyond Roswell, too.

“We’re getting people from the northern areas. During my read-aloud, I had some friends from Texas watching with their children,” Morales said.

The group member list includes people from Artesia, Santa Fe, Deming, Santa Teresa and even Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Katlyn Gore, an RISD preschool teacher, volunteered to read “The Pout-Pout Fish and the Bully-Bully Shark” by Deborah Diesen on Wednesday. She said it’s a great way to help her students.

“It’s been really nice to know the students in my class that are connected onto this group are still able to get their storytime that they’re used to in their routine, and I’m still getting to introduce them to new books. It kind of gives parents a break because someone else is stepping up and being able to read to their kiddos,” she said.

She said she was nervous leading up to the time of her video, but once she started, it was just like reading to a classroom.

Readers don’t have to be educators, though. Roswell health care worker Stacey Peterson Sexton read “The Mixed-Up Chameleon” with her son, Gavin, Thursday night.

“It’s not just teachers, it’s others who just want to be involved in a fun way and do something, especially during a time like this,” Morales said.

The group is focused on elementary-age children, so volunteer readers are asked to choose appropriate books.

Members can also post reading videos at any time of day, and some have also posted other videos, including one of author Laura Numeroff reading her book, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”

Morales said the plan is for the live readings to be done at 7 p.m. for three weeks, but she hopes it continues beyond that, whether or not school is back in session in New Mexico.

“It’s been such a hit. It’s so positive and sometimes we need to remember we don’t need to do things like this just because there’s challenges out there. It’s something that’s really cool and I think we could definitely expand beyond the three weeks,” she said.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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