October 08, 2004
CONTACT: Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456 or mstepanovich@csub.edu

Some 6,000 Kern County elementary school students are participating in the second annual “Rowdy About Reading” program, sponsored by the California State University, Bakersfield Athletics Department, The Bakersfield Californian, Mayor Harvey Hall and family, and radio station KUZZ.

Rowdy About Reading is a comprehensive reading program that rewards elementary school students for their efforts in the classroom and at home. It’s designed to promote literacy and endorse teamwork, as classrooms work together to reach a common goal.

Rowdy About Reading information was sent to all Kern County Schools via fax and email.

“Last year we had nearly 4,000 students in 192 classrooms participating,” said Sarah Slayton, CSUB athletics marketing manager. “This year we have more than 6,000 students from throughout Bakersfield, to Shafter, Wasco, Delano, McFarland, Tehachapi and even Lost Hills. The response has been phenomenal.”

Rowdy About Reading organizers worked with local teachers and librarians in an effort to arrive at a compatible point system with an elementary school curriculum. They arrived at a system that is realistic and challenging, but rewarding, Slayton said.

The Rowdy About Reading program is designed to provide teachers and children with a fun way to promote literacy through reading at home and in the classroom. Here’s how it works:

Classrooms participate in the program by accumulating points for their entire class, as a team would work for a common objective. As each classroom collects points, its students are rewarded with gifts from the CSUB Spirit Store each time they reach a new point level.

During the program, CSUB athletes donate their time every Friday until February visiting all of the participating classrooms. Softball, volleyball, soccer, track-and-field, basketball, and swimming athletes all help to make the program a success. “The CSUB athletes make the biggest impact on the children,” Slayton said. “Our athletes have been very generous with their time and have given the program a very personal touch. They are great role models for Kern County youth and, hopefully, have made these young students look at CSUB as a place to continue their education.”

The point system is based on the volume of books read by a classroom. Each book read is worth a point. Each Friday, the teachers in the participating classrooms call or e-mail Slayton with the number of books read throughout the week. Slayton keeps the totals and send each class a weekly progress report. Children receive prizes each time they reach a new point level. Prizes are as follows:

A pizza party for the leading class is scheduled during the winter break. The Rowdy About Reading winning classroom, which will be announced in February 2005, will receive use of the KUZZ suite at Centennial Garden for a CSUB basketball game.

“The response has been overwhelming,” Slayton said. “We’re very pleased. It’s such a great way to encourage kids to read.”

For more information about the Rowdy About Reading program, please contact Slayton at (661) 664-2345.