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Celebrities Take to Skype to Promote Reading and Literacy to Classrooms

Last month, Skype proudly celebrated World Read Aloud Day as a part of our Skype in the classroom program. This global day of literacy awareness is about taking action: action based on a belief that everyone should have the ability to read and write. Through Skype in the classroom, we’re helping motivate children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words. As part of Microsoft YouthSpark, our company-wide initiative to empower 300 million youth through opportunities in education, employment, and entrepreneurship, Skype in the classroom is creating a community of readers through face-to-face connections with other countries and cultures.

Teacher-to-teacher, student-to-student, or person-to-person, reading together creates irreplaceable memories. To honor this age old past-time, more than 30 celebrities and business leaders have committed to read their favorite childhood stories to classrooms throughout the remainder of the 2013 school year. Recently, the first of these read aloud sessions took place, as Sean Lowe and Elisabeth Rohm from the bright lights of Hollywood read to eager and excited students in to two classrooms in Princeton, NJ.

Lowe stepped away from the Dancing with the Stars ballroom, to read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein via Skype video call, to a class of third graders at St. Paul School in Princeton, NJ. In addition to reading, Sean took some time to answer questions and give the inquisitive third graders a tour of his house, and a chance to meet his dogs.

Sean Lowe reading to third graders at St. Paul School in Princeton, NJ. 

On the other end of St. Paul School, two 5th grade classrooms got to hear from Elisabeth Rohm, currently filming the newest David O. Russell film with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. Over Skype, she shared The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt while students remained captivated by this real life Hollywood beauty. Elisabeth then turned the table on the fifth graders: after they asked her a few questions, she had a few questions from them. Students took turns sharing their favorite books and authors.

Both Elisabeth and Sean were so enamored with the opportunity to interact with the students that they volunteered to do more read aloud sessions in the future. The teachers, who were as excited as the students, were so inspired by the enthusiasm their classes had for the experience that they are eagerly brainstorming ideas for their next Skype in the classroom calls.

Elizabeth Rohm Skype in the classroom video call

Elisabeth Rohm reading to fifth graders at St. Paul School in Princeton, NJ. 

Teachers, are you interested in setting up a read aloud session with a celebrity, expert or other classroom? Join Skype in the classroom for free today! Educators who are members of Skype in the classroom can now use Skype Group Video Calling (a feature normally part of our paid premium products) completely for free by following these steps. The possibilities for adventure and creativity are endless when fostered by great teachers and a love for reading – and we can’t wait to share what’s in store next.

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