COLLEGE STATION, Texas— In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, a teacher from Katy decided she wanted to do something for the kids stuck at home due to school cancelations across Southeast Texas.
Second grade teacher, Kathryn Mills had an idea— start a book club on Facebook.
She created a closed group called The Hurricane Harvey Book Club, inviting her friends to post videos of themselves reading a book.
The group quickly grew from 70 members to over 72,000. People from all over the country posted videos and shared their favorite books.
Plus, teachers connected with other teachers. Some educators even offering to send books to schools affected by the hurricane.
Kids from all over the U.S. posted videos and suddenly their posts had hundreds of likes and numerous positive comments.
Mills said so many parents have contacted her, saying their child now has so much more confidence in reading after posting a video.
Hannah Fisher, a member of Texas A&M’s Pi Beta Phi chapter, heard about the Facebook group and immediately jumped into action.
“All of these kids had to leave their homes without books and this group wanted to provide a healthy distraction for them and to keep encouraging that love of reading even when they couldn’t be in school,” said Fisher, an aspiring teacher.
“This book club is just one piece of a much bigger cause,” she added.
The Hurricane Harvey Book Club also provided a positive distraction for Sarah Staerkar, whose family had to evacuate her Katy home due to flood waters.
“We were fortunate to be able to evacuate when we did,” she said.
So the A&M Pi Phis posted their video, reading a book called Nat, Nat, The Nantucket Cat, in hopes of promoting literacy and supporting the community.
“I think this book club and people joining in is just making huge gains for these kids and letting them know that people do care about them,” said Staerker.
So, that little book club started after a devastating hurricane, created a different kind of storm.
“There’s no way that I thought this little idea of mine was going to blow up and be as encouraging and amazing as it has been for all of you,” said Mills in a video posted on the Hurricane Harvey Book Club.
Although Mills will take down the page on Sunday, she hopes her message with continue. As a teacher, she needs to focus on her students, but she said the Twitter account, @hurricaneharveybc, will continue to be a place for teachers and students to join others in a community of readers.