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Inspiring Lifelong Reading: Kern Literacy Council provides free books to students in Lamont

The council's first ever "Free Book Fair" allowed students to take home books for the summer, something they hope will keep them reading throughout summer break
Posted at 5:12 AM, May 29, 2024

LAMONT, Calif. (KERO) — Kern Literacy Council gave students free books to take home for the summer to inspire lifelong readers. 23ABC's Grace Laverriere and Priscilla Lara read to the students while they chose books.

  • Video shows students in Lamont selecting books and hearing stories at the Kern Literacy Council's first ever free book fair.
  • The event allowed students to take home a book for free to encourage reading during the summer.
  • Summer can be a time for learning regression, but encouraging consistent reading can help. Ian Anderson, director of Kern Literacy Council, says it can inspire lifelong readers.


On Tuesday morning, 23ABC's Priscilla Lara and Grace Laverriere read to students in Lamont as part of Kern Literacy Council's event to encourage reading throughout the summer.

Students from first to sixth grade browsed through the books and even stopped for story time. The free book fair was the first of its kind.

“We’re going where we’re wanted and where literacy is appreciated,” Ian Anderson said.

Neighborhood Reporter Grace Laverriere interviewing Ian Anderson from the KLC about the importance of reading and providing free books to kids
Neighborhood Reporter Grace Laverriere interviewing Ian Anderson from the KLC about the importance of reading and providing free books to kids

Anderson is the executive director of Kern Literacy Council, and he says the impact of the fair could already be seen at the school.

“I’m seeing them on the playground sitting in circles reading and sharing," said Anderson. "It’s an amazing thing.”

Anderson says summer break can turn into a learning break, and some students may fall behind once school returns.

By giving students books, he says he hopes to inspire long-term readers.

“The importance of continuing to foster a love for reading, especially at an early age is vitally important, not just success going back to school, but lifelong," Anderson said. "So we’re really hoping to spark a little bit of joy with that lifelong love for reading.”

Reading is an important part of learning, Anderson says, but book costs can often add up.

According to the California Department of Education, costs for children’s books can range from around $8.00 to $11.00 per book. Other data from the School Library Journal show that 2023 prices could reach $16 for one book.

By offering the free book fair and expanding access to new books, Anderson says it can help bring more books into the student’s homes.

“When we think about getting a book in the hands of a kid, it’s not only impacting that child, it’s impacting that family, their friends," said Anderson. "It can just have an exponential impact on literacy.”

As the school year winds down, Anderson encourages reading during the summer.

“Use your libraries, go out and about and enjoy literacy," said Anderson. "But also go out in the sun and enjoy a bit of a break.”

Kern Literacy Council says they're happy to see all of the students grabbing books, and they hope for more opportunities to offer books to other schools in Kern County.

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