Wednesday, June 17, 2020
  Community, Alumni

By Amanda Alaniz

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – Dariela Rodriguez, now a UTRGV alumna who graduated this past May, has created a YouTube channel called Glittery Lápices, dedicated to read-alouds. 

Read-aloud videos have become a buzzing trend that grew during the COVID-19 pandemic, when most school districts turned to distance learning and virtual resources to complete the academic year. 

As more videos popped up as a source for learning and entertainment, the UTRGV interdisciplinary studies graduate took to YouTube to help promote reading.  

The idea to start the channel came from Rodriguez’s student teaching experience while finishing the STEP UP program at Lee H. Means Elementary Fine Arts Academy in Harlingen.  

The Weslaco native helped the teacher there with lessons and would hold story time. 

“During my student teaching in Harlingen, it became a tradition to start reading a book to my students every morning, just to help motivate them to start testing more,” she said. “They had goals at the end of the year to reach; it was 30 AR (Accelerated Reader) points. A lot of them were struggling. My teacher gave me the idea, ‘Why don’t you start doing read-aloud?’” 

So, Rodriguez would pick a book, read it animatedly to the students, and then they would take the AR test. It helped the students gain their points. 

Then, when the pandemic hit, the classroom tradition took a brief pause while everyone got used to distance learning.  

Rodriguez was not able to continue her student teaching, but she remained in contact with the teacher she had worked with and still joined in on Zoom meetings with the class.

Rodriguez’s teacher suggested she continue the read-alouds online, to remain connected to the students and keep up the tradition. 

She started creating videos of herself reading children books she had collected over some time, seeing it as a way for students to continue to learn about themes and vocabulary, and to be able to AR test and keep the connection she had built with them. 

“I know my students miss me. I miss them,” she said. “We get into Zoom calls together and they’re like, ‘We miss you much! I already read all your books. When are you going to post more?’ They look forward to those little things.”

At first, she was only going to share the videos with her classroom. Then she decided, why not share with others? So, she started by sharing the channel link with her sister, a teacher in Houston who provided the link to her students. 

Her student teaching ended earlier than expected, she said, so she felt a little out of touch with the “teaching world.” She said completing the read-alouds is her way of staying connected to her passion – teaching. 

“I feel this is an easy way to connect me back to my teacher role – my read-alouds with my students, and knowing they watch and test,” she said. 

The inspiration for the channel name, Glittery Lápices, came from a place of scholastic creativity. 

“I’m bilingual-certified with Spanish, and I love everything glitter,” she said, smiling. “Lápices is pencils. I tried to incorporate those two things to have a teacher theme.” 

The UTRGV alum plans to continue reading more books and uploading new videos to her channel.  

And in the meantime, she is moving to Houston to start her teaching career. She was accepted to Teach for America and will begin teaching fourth grade at Patterson Elementary School.

She said her students and teacher in Harlingen already know about the big move. 

“My students were really sad. They were like, ‘But, Miss, if we go back to school, we won’t get to see you,” she said. “I told them I’ll come back, my family lives here. I’ll try bringing them something.”


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.