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Community Reading Project
Kern County Community Reading Project seeks volunteers for spring semester
The Kern County Superintendent of Schools office announced today that volunteers are needed for the annual Kern County Community Reading Project. The project recruits and trains community members to become reading coaches for local second grade students.
“The program is a perfect opportunity for community members who would like to make a positive impact in the lives of young students who are experiencing challenges in learning to read,” said Teresa Twisselman, coordinator English/Language Arts at KCSOS. “One hour a week is all it takes to help four children become successful readers.”
A longitudinal study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that students who were not proficient in reading by the end of third grade were four times more likely to drop out of high school than proficient readers. In fact, 88 percent of students who failed to earn a high school diploma were struggling readers in third grade. (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2014).
Volunteers attend a two-hour training session to learn the guided reading technique, then commit one hour, one day a week for at least one semester. During each visit, a volunteer coaches four students individually for 15 minutes. A different volunteer is in the classroom every day, assuring daily-guided practice for the selected students.
The project began in 1999 with a pilot program, which placed employees of The Bakersfield Californian in classrooms in the Bakersfield City School District. The project was later expanded to include more than 200 community volunteers and more than 20 school sites.
In the spring semester 2016, 24 schools participated. Data collected on 235 students indicated that students in the program made an average of 6.9 months growth during the spring semester. In schools that tested control group students (similar demographics but non-participants), the participating students averaged 6.8 months growth compared to 4.9 months average progress made by the control group.
Those interested in volunteering during the spring semester 2017 can choose between any of three training sessions: Wed., Jan.11 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Thurs., Jan. 12 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 21 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. All trainings take place at City Centre, 1300 17th Street in downtown Bakersfield, room 1B. No pre-registration is necessary.