Teacher, With 5 Kids Of Her Own, Spends An Hour Reading To A Student In The Driveway

April 11, 2020

An elementary school teacher in Florida is lifting hearts across the country with an act of kindness that's receiving national attention.

teacher reads to students in driveway
Katie Ricca

Katie Ricca teaches first grade at North Bay Haven. She has been holding virtual storytime for her students to connect with her and their classmates during the quarantine.

Every day her students log on, by choice, to hear her read to them. Then they chat, in order to keep a sense of closeness.

"I think it's really important," said Ricca. "A lot of them do not understand what's going on right now and they have a whole bunch of different emotions."

For one of her students, Hannah Close, those emotions began to surface during one of their virtual storytime sessions.

"We turned it off, I asked her what was wrong," said Hanna's mother, Kelley. "She said 'I don't know, I don't know I just feel really sad.'"

"I miss my classmates," she said. "I miss playing with them."


After logging off, Close said that what happened next took her by surprise, when Ricca messaged her asking if she could come over to her home to see Hannah in person, at a safe distance.

"I was just hoping that I could bring a little joy to her," said Ricca.

Ricca, who has five kids of her own, spent over an hour reading and talking to Hannah in person, on the sidewalk.

Hannah's mom snapped a quick photo and posted it to Facebook.

"Hannah's class has a Zoom session each evening," Kelley wrote. "Last night she got really sad and kinda shut down. Today her teacher came over and hung out for a bit. They chatted, read books, and just talked. This woman has FIVE kids at home and STILL she sat in my driveway for an hour to make sure Hannah was okay."

Since then, Ricca said Hannah's back to being her bubbly self, logging on to storytime until the stories can be told in person once again.

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