Your Own Storytime With Grandchildren

Harold Sasnowitz |

During these days when travel and contact with loved ones is so restricted, I sought a way to reach out and touch my grandchildren. So, I started Grandpa’s Storytime. It’s a really easy way to keep in touch and connect in a personal way, and a great deal of fun.

First, I asked the kids if they would like for me read a story one evening each week. I picked out 7:30 PM as the time because it is not too late, yet it still after dinner and before bedtime. (Of course, I had to make sure their parents were ok with the time too.)

The ubiquity of Zoom these days was the natural way to deliver the session, and this has worked out very well. I set up a time and day and then send out the invitations.

Then the question is what to read. I focused on my grandchildren between 7 and 15. This is quite an age span, I know, but I figured to try it out and see what happens. I started with a few Mark Twain short stories, especially ones that I loved. This did not work out so well, especially for the younger ones, because they missed the subtleties in his writing. I sensed that this was not really giving the enjoyment I sought.

To remedy this, I went to the source of all knowledge: the internet. I typed in “books for 10-year olds” and a list of candidate books popped up. I picked out one and downloaded it. (Amazon Prime has been a good source of books for us.)

Next, I had to wait for Wednesday night. After the Twain disappointment, I started reading a mystery for kids, and luckily, I had picked well. I say picked well because each chapter ends with a cliff hanger. I read for about 30-40 minutes, and the kids usually sit and listen.

We can see each other, and the kids see their cousins too. Usually, after the reading the kids talk to each other and to me for a few minutes. We have a grand time. If, for some reason, someone misses Storytime, Zoom has an option to record the session. After the session, I send the recorded file to all the families.

I look forward to Storytime as much as the kids do. You can do this too. The cost is negligible, and the payback is fantastic.

-Harold Sasnowitz-