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Kern County Community Reading Project seeks volunteers


September 14, 2019

The Kern County Superintendent of Schools office announced today that volunteers are now being sought 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 of 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. Semesters run September to December and January to May. 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 2018-19, 250 volunteers participated at 24 school sites. In the fall semester, 2018, data collected on 155 students indicated that students in the program made an average of 8 months of growth. In the spring semester, 2019, data from 180 students indicated that students made an average of 6.9 months of growth.

Those interested in volunteering during the fall semester can choose between two training sessions on Monday, Sept. 30. The first session is from 10 a.m. to noon and the second session is from 4 to 6 p.m. The trainings take place at City Centre, 1300 17th Street, Room 1B, in downtown Bakersfield. No pre-registration is necessary.

For more information, please contact Teresa Twisselman, coordinator of English/Language Arts at (661) 636-4645.


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