Bay Ridge kid creates channel to read to children during COVID-19 pandemic

May 6, 2020 Jaime DeJesus
Bay Ridge kid creates channel to read to children during COVID-19 pandemic
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A Bay Ridge kid is showing that reading is still fun despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seven-year-old and P.S. 185 student Bryan Rumfelt is an avid reader. When schools closed down due to the coronavirus, the first grade student decided to film himself reading to younger kids and create his own channel, “Bryan’s Book Corner.”

“I love reading books and I wanted to help kids that couldn’t read or wanted to hear stories while they are stuck at home,” Rumfelt said.

One day, Rumfelt’s grandmother Donna Byrnes encouraged him to read in front of a camera.

“He was sitting here reading and asked Bryan if I could record him telling a story since he loves to read,” she said. “Sure enough, he just ate it up and asked if I could put it on Facebook.”

Byrnes described her grandson as very caring. In 2014, he helped raise money for children affected by Hurricane Harvey by selling candy in the neighborhood.

“He said he could read to the little kids because there’s no library reading time and I had gone to read aloud to P.S. 185 to the kids,” Byrnes said. “His mother’s a teacher and used to love to read as a kid. All she did was read as well. I think he just knew that he wanted to do something good during the pandemic.”

Once Byrnes created the Facebook page, parents started showing them to their children and the reception has been great.

“The comments are insane,” Byrnes said. “His mother reads him the comments and he absolutely loves to hear them.”

Former Bay Ridge resident Jaime Guadagno loves the videos so much, she shows them to her eight month old daughter.

“He has done it yet again and has managed to put smiles on so many faces during otherwise difficult times,” she said. “Bryan’s Book Corner is a creative way of allowing children to safely enjoy story time with a friend. Bryan is a really thoughtful, innovative young boy being raised by parents and family that always encourages and supports his giving heart. We should all aspire to raise more ‘Bryans’. My eight month old daughter Juliette and I will be looking out for more fun story times. They’re a really great family and it’s great to highlight these aspects of the dark cloud we’re under.”

“Wonderful job Bryan,” wrote one fan. “This is a hint of what world peace looks like. For the greater good. Keep up with your beautiful soul buddy.”

“Bryan is such a sweet child with a big heart,” added another. “This is a wonderful thing he is doing. I miss seeing him at lunch time.”

Rosemarie Rizzo, the owner of bookstore Rosie’s Confidence Corner, 278 87th St.,was so impressed with Rumfelt’s idea, she gave him a student advocacy award and a gift certificate to the store.

“We got so many comments on how the pandemic is just depressing everybody and it’s just so refreshing to see a young person reading to younger kids,” Byrnes said. “Even his friends watch.”

One video, he dedicated to dedicate teacher’s appreciation week.

“We love you,” he said to all the teachers.

His favorite author is Mo Willems and frequently features his books during the show.

His parents, Jennifer and Keith Rumfelt, are proud of their son for continuing to want to help others.

“We are so proud of Bryan everyday,” said Jenn. “He has always loved reading and has a huge heart.”

“This post is tugging on my heart strings,” said Keith when responding to a positive comment left on the page. “I’m one proud Dad and one of his #1 supporter in all he chooses to do.”


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