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Championing Our Cause: Wajeha Chaudhry, Local Educator
Wajeha Chaudhry shares a love of reading with local children as well as her son, Sohail, and daughter, Sabeeha.

Championing Our Cause: Wajeha Chaudhry, Local Educator

Three Easy Ways to Engage with Kids During the COVID-19 School Break

March 18, 2020 | 03:25 PM

Loudon Elementary's Wajeha Chaudhry, best known as a beloved third grade teacher and star of the YouTube series Chaudhry's Champions, is a community figure who always meets her students where they are. Right now, students throughout Kern County find themselves at home due to COVID-19 and social distancing recommendations.

Chaudhry's Champions features a different picture book or chapter of a children's novel in each video. Although Chaudhry herself usually reads the chosen titles, she often features guest readers from across Kern County, including Mayor Karen Goh, Bakersfield Condors player Ryan Holt, policemen, firefighters and other teachers, community heroes children can look up to and know are at work where they live.

Chaudhry recognized different language abilities, needs and schedules across our community when she started the channel, originally to explain math homework, in 2015. Reading homework quickly became part of what she offered after realizing that not all children hear a bedtime story every night, for a variety of reasons.

"Sometimes you're tired, you've had a rough day, and your child brings you the longest book or something you don't feel like slogging through, like a tongue twister book by Dr. Seuss. All you want to do is skip a few pages," said Chaudhry. "All children should have an opportunity to hear stories, regardless of their background or the language they speak. Parents are working or they're just busy, or they didn't have a chance today, other kids in the household get sick; life happens. As a single mother for quite some time myself, I understand. It's a team effort, all of us working together to get that love of learning and reading to happen for children."

During this time of uncertainty, Chaudhry plans on offering stories as frequently as she is able. Selections will be pulled from the improvised library she keeps in the trunk of her car, in addition to her own favorites collected over a lifetime.

Find her YouTube Channel at http://bit.ly/kernchamps.

If you're looking for other ways to help your children stay on track with learning over the next several weeks, Chaudhry suggest the following three simple strategies:

- Break out the books: Read aloud or listen to someone reading to you.

- Make something and discuss the process: Draw or create something then share how, why and what it is.

- Have conversations: Discuss what a show was about, explain a video game to someone, tell a parent or younger sibling about the movie you just saw without giving away how it ends, talk about current events. Stay positive and let kids know this unusual period is an unprecedented part of their own story.

by Callie Collins

Happy Mama Feb21
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