Genetics story time offers engaging activity for children and parents

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the lives of people everywhere, especially when it comes to educating school-aged children. But faculty and staff in Baylor’s Department of Molecular and Human Genetics have found a fun way to engage kids – and adults – while they are at home due to social distancing – online story time!

Classic children’s books and newer favorites alike are read by employees in the department, with the particular goal of providing resources to people with intellectual disabilities.

“This idea was driven by the need for parents of children and adults with intellectual disability who are working at home to have quality options for education and focus during this time of quarantine,” said Dr. Sarah Elsea, professor of molecular and human genetics.

The story time videos are hosted on the Evening with Genetics webpage, and fit in seamlessly with the goals of the program. Evenings with Genetics is a seminar series sponsored by Baylor and Texas Children’s Hospital that offers the most current information on care and research for many genetic diseases. Its goal is to highlight the advances in genetic research as well as encourage networking within the community.

“This is an incredible community resource during a time of great need for diversion, optimism and normalcy,” said Susan Fernbach, R.N., assistant professor and director of the Office of Community Engagement and Diversity in molecular and human genetics. “Parents of children with intellectual disabilities are truly struggling right now to keep some semblance of normalcy, and this is a wonderful resource for them.”

It’s also a great opportunity for department faculty and staff to contribute to the needs of the community during the pandemic. Many of them already are involved directly with the community through education, research and clinical care, and story time is another way to reach out.

“It’s something that everyone can participate in,” Elsea said, “and we would love to see even more people involved.”

Click the links below for the story time readings, and check back on the Evening with Genetics page for updates. To get involved by reading a children’s story, email

“Olivia” by Ian Falconer
Narrated by Naama Machol
Daughter of Dr. Keren Machol
Assistant Professor of Molecular and Human Genetics

Listen to the story

“Olivia Saves the Circus” by Ian Falconer
Narrated by Naama Machol

Listen to the story

“The Nose Book” by Dr. Seuss
Narrated by Isabella Ramirez
Daughter of Maricela Ramirez
Laboratory Director, Molecular and Human Genetics

Listen to the story