Storybooks in Taft Garden

As I try out different postures and smiles in my laptop camera, at first I feel a little ridiculous, but after a while, I can’t help but relish in it. There was something so exciting about seeing myself in video, involved with a project I can’t help but love, even if it’ll only be seen at a small scale. I wonder if that was what Steve from Blues Clues first felt like. Only kidding, of course.

This week I actually began filming my videos of children’s books being read aloud and I was completely surprised at how much fun I was having! I began my first pilot episode with the English reading of Maddy Beckman’s children’s book, Maddy Visits Ghana. It was an adorable, simple little story, but I got so involved making her words into a fun, accessible video. I set myself up in Taft Garden, partially because it was a beautiful location and partially because I liked to imagine M. Carey Thomas grinding her teeth at the thought of an American-African fellowship project taking place in her private garden.

It a bit more complicated than I first imagined as you had to monitor everything about yourself in the video. How your expressions looked, how well the book was propped up, how clear the illustrations were. I struggled with balancing all these elements at once, but then investing myself in became part of the fun! I added fun music in the background to help get the children’s interest as well as added interesting visuals. Even though I understood only some students from Titagya would be able to access these videos, I wanted them to enjoy it as much as possible.

For now, as I wait in eagerness to see Farouk’s recordings of the stories in Dagbani, I compile a list of future books to record for next week. So far I have lined up a nice stack of Anansi the Spider stories and the story Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters to record for next week. Hopefully, by the end of the project, I will have mastered how to create these videos and the Titagya preschools will have an interesting new way how to get the students more involved in reading as well as new method of practicing their English pronunciation.

If anyone has any suggestions for new books to record, hopefully ones centered around Ghanaian folklore, please let me know in the comments!

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