BY BILL FERRIS
One of the best moments of my day is reading a bedtime story to my boys. We get quality bonding time, they’re fostering what I hope is a life-long love of books, and I get to work on my list of character voices, which consists of “Gruff Adult Male,” “All-purpose Female,” “Little Kid,” and “Carnival Barker.” But little do they know that instead of putting up with Daddy’s lack of dramatic range, they could instead listen to James Earl Jones. The Screen Actors Guild Foundation has produced Storyline Online, a streaming video site where SAG members read a wide selection of children’s books.
Kids can follow along in their own books, or just watch the video, which includes the illustrations. You can toggle closed-captioning or, to make it even more book-like, turn off the sound, too, which kinda defeats the purpose of watching the videos, but it’s nice to know you could do this, I suppose.
You can find additional activities such as discussion questions and research prompts for each story. Storyline Online has a nice selection of narrators, too, including Al Gore and the aforementioned James Earl Jones, whose voice could make the phone book sound interesting. Storyline Online is a handy tool for a day when you’ve lost your voice (it is cold and flu season, after all). It’s also a nice place to steer kids toward for when they’re surfing the web at home. You never know whose parents have heard their dad’s carnival barker voice one too many times.