Everyone knows that children are our future, and educators and parents are always looking for new ways to encourage kids to read, study, dream, and never give up! Encouraging kids to care about their educations is a problem for the ages, but a couple of creative NASA employees may have come up with the perfect solution.
During the final mission of the space shuttle Discovery, Patricia Tribe, the former director of education at Space Center Houston, and Alvin Drew, the first NASA astronaut to read a story in space for the program, came up with a plan. They wanted to simultaneously encourage reading and STEM topics, and they decided that having real-life astronauts read books in space would hit both nails on the head.
And so began the Global Space Education Foundation’s “Story Time From Space” program. Astronauts bring children’s books with them to space and read them aloud in front of a camera. Then the footage is sent back to Earth for editing and shown to children around the world, inspiring in many of them a love for reading, as well as math, science, technology, engineering, and a variety of other important educational topics.
“What better role models to engage kids in science and to engage them in reading?” says Tribe. “You’re not only looking and listening to the books, you’re looking around the International Space Station.”
The program is drawing in kids, parents, and educators alike, and, happily, it has had even more benefits than Tribe and Drew first expected it would. Astronauts from all walks of life are now picking up books in a wide range of reading levels and topics to record themselves reading. Their work is promoting diversity—not only in terms of interests but also in terms of ethnicity, race, gender, language, and more.
So if you’re looking for the perfect way to spice up your bedtime story routine, this is it! There are several great space-exploring role models and exciting stories to choose from.
In the video below, astronaut Kathleen “Kate” Rubins reads an inspiring book called Rosie Revere, Engineer. Check it out!
Click “next” to learn about the library dog who just wanted a child to come read with him.
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?