Viral Video of Mother Reading to South Suburban Class in Arabic Teaches Acceptance

A Chicago Ridge kindergarten teacher invited the mother to read in her classroom

A video posted by a kindergarten teacher in south suburban Chicago Ridge captured the world’s attention, garnering more than 2.7 million views on social media.

But more importantly it sent a message of acceptance.

The story all started when Mrs. Ryan, a teacher of 14 years at Ridge Lawn Elementary School, was approached by one of her student’s parents.

Fatana Shaapan said she wanted to participate in the Read-Along Program, but was hesitant because she wasn’t able to read in English, only in Arabic.

Mrs. Ryan didn't have any objections whatsoever.

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“Of course, because all parents are welcome with open arms at her school,” she said.

So, Mrs. Ryan invited Shaapan to read to her classroom in Arabic.

“The students were so engaged in the story, and [Shaapan] would stop and explain some words in English to the kids that didn’t understand," Mrs. Ryan said.

The teacher posted a video of Shaapan reading to the classroom on Twitter, and social media overwhelmingly responded with millions of views and hundreds of thousands of likes.

"Remember the next time that when you see somebody that might speak a little differently that they do have a story to share, and we do need to accept everyone," Mrs. Ryan said.

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