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Local teacher connects with students through virtual read-aloud sessions

Posted at 6:36 PM, Dec 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-31 09:28:36-05

MILWAUKEE — Just because the classes stop during the holiday break, learning doesn't have to.

That's the philosophy of a local elementary school administrator who has continued virtual read-aloud sessions with her students. What began as a one-off read-aloud for a Danette Justus connecting with students really drew significant interest from kids and even other teachers.

Eventually, it evolved into something much more.
On the fifth day of Kwanzaa, Justus, an educator at Siefert Elementary, sits in her empty office, lights a candle and begins recording a re-aloud for her students.

Day five of Kwanzaa, also called “Nia” -- focuses on purpose. Danette’s purpose; actively helping kids continue learning during the pandemic.

“I just try to keep the books fun for the students. Relevant. Some of the classics that I loved,” Justus said.

This is hardly new for Danette, who says it all began as one read-aloud at the beginning of the school year.

“Because we were virtual, I wanted a way to connect with our students so I said, ‘Let’s so a read-aloud,” Justus said.

Shortly after one read-aloud, another... and another. Each one is roughly about ten to fifteen minutes of her day, filled with purpose.

During Kwanzaa, she commits to her purpose - hoping her readings help instill those seven principles; unity, self-determination, responsibility, cooperative economics, creativity, faith and purpose within her young students.

“The principles of Kwanzaa are really things we should be living by on a daily basis. Not just the seven days,” Justus said.

To view Justus’ readings, visit her YouTube channel.

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