A lot of us at 23ABC love to read,but we also know that access to books is a privilege that we don’t think about on a daily basis.
“It’s that third grade reading milestone we’re looking for, because once they go from third to fourth grade, That’s when they go from learning to read to reading to learn,” Laura Lollar Wolfe, Executive Director of the Kern Literacy Council said.
The percentage of people that read proficiently at the end of third grade in kern county, is about 40 percent, Wolfe added, eight points behind the state. That was the statistic before the pandemic and virtual learning.
“Our students have been reading books, we use the electronic platform, ion to read electronic books, but there’s nothing like opening a book, and reading and flipping through the pages of a book,” Alfonso Ceja, a Bakersfield City School District principal said.
For the past five years 23ABC along with the company's Scripps Howard Foundation, the Kern Literacy Council, and Scholastic have been teaming up to help change that by promoting reading as a fun family activity. It’s a project close to our hearts, and to date the project has gifted a total of 2000 books to kern county kids from kindergarten to third grade.
“We started with Clifford coming to Frank West Elementary, and of course that was a huge hit, oh my gosh. Huge!” Wolfe said. “The kids, they just light up. They even hug the book.”
The Elementary school chosen this year only has a 28 percent reading proficiency by the end of third grade. The goal is to help change that.
“Our student’s reading will improve, by the practice of reading, and our goal is to encourage them to read every day and love reading,” Ceja said.
Wolfe said that the next step is for the parents to read to their kids for at least 15 minutes every day.
“I know everyone is so stressed at this time, and it seems like, ah! I don’t have time! But literally right before bed, or when they’re in the bath, and it doesn’t have to be all at one time,” Wolfe said.
A special thank you to our company foundation, Scripps Howard, the Kern Literacy council, and Scholastic, as well as J&M Party Supplies and Decorating and Frito Lays for their donations.