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Kern County Community Reading Project seeks volunteers

The Kern County Superintendent of Schools office announced that volunteers are now being sought for the annual Kern County Community Reading Project, which has returned after being on hiatus during the pandemic. The project recruits and trains community members to become reading coaches for local second grade students.

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 next training is scheduled for Oct. 3 from 9 to 11 a.m. in room 1B, 1300 17th Street in downtown Bakersfield. No pre-registration is necessary.

"The Community Reading Project is an excellent opportunity for community members who want to make a direct, positive impact in the lives of young students," said Ryan Murry, Coordinator English/Language Arts at KCSOS.

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).

The Kern County Community Reading 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.

Data collected from previous years indicated that students in the program made an average of 8 months growth on literacy assessments.

Potential volunteers can email [email protected] or call (661) 636-4420 with questions.