NORTHFIELD CENTER – Parents looking for an evening story hour may want to look into Good Knight Nordonia.
Every Thursday evening, starting at 7:30 p.m., Superintendent Joe Clark, with puppets in hand and occasionally a goofy hat on his head, reads a children’s storybook; the videos can be found on Facebook, under Good Knight Nordonia.
This online program, which has also included other staff members from the Nordonia Hills City Schools and other guest artists, started at the beginning of this school year, Clark said. To date, there are 30 episodes. For each episode, those who watched and commented have the chance to win that book.
"To start I just picked up books I thought looked interesting when I was in a store somewhere," Clark said. "Then I got a grant from the Nordonia Schools Foundation for $500 and bought a ton of books that looked great on Amazon. Usually my guest reader brings their own favorite book."
The number of viewers generally ranges from around 200 to around 800. However, the episode that aired March 26 and featured Deb Swan, a speech therapist at Ledgeview Elementary School, and Andrew Vojtush, a fourth-grader at the school, has around 4,500 views, said Amber Vojtush, Andrew’s mother.
Together, Swan and Andrew, 10, read "All My Stripes," which was about a zebra who is on the autism spectrum.
Vojtush, Andrew’s mother, said her son, too, is on the spectrum and is nonverbal; in the video, he generally narrates the story through his iPad.
"He had so much fun being a guest reader," said Vojtush, who lives in Northfield Village. "Mrs. Swan and Andrew spent time at school preparing by reading the book and programming the pages into Andrew’s iPad. He uses an iPad as his main form of communication with an app called Proloque2go."
The episode was prerecorded, Vojtush said.
"Thankfully they pre-recorded it or else he would not have been able to be a guest reader due to the stay-at-home order," Vojtush said.
Clark said that guest readers "are on hold now because of the social distancing requirement."
"But I had booked the state superintendent of public instruction and also a couple local police officers," he added.
For the April 23 video, Clark said he plans to feature written submissions from prospective young authors. The last episode for the school year is scheduled to stream May 14.