January 9, 2004
CONTACT: Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456 or mstepanovich@csub.edu

A comprehensive new reading program that rewards elementary school students for their efforts in the classroom and at home has been launched by the California State University, Bakersfield Athletics Department, Bakersfield West Rotary Club and radio station KUZZ.

“Rowdy About Reading” is designed to promote literacy and endorse teamwork, as classrooms work together to reach a common goal.

Rowdy About Reading fliers were sent through the Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office to every area elementary school in the Bakersfield area. First through sixth grade students are the focus of the program.

“The initial reaction was outstanding,” said Eric Schoh, CSUB assistant athletic director. “In the first four days we had responses from more than 85 classrooms eager to get involved.”

To date, CSUB Athletics has registered 192 classrooms with 3,914 students in the Rowdy About Reading program. Additionally, some 35 home-schooled children are also participating.

Rowdy About Reading organizers contacted local teachers and librarians in an effort to arrive at a compatible point system with an elementary school curriculum. A committee comprised of four teachers and two librarians from local schools helped create a system that is realistic and challenging, but rewarding, Schoh said.

Classrooms will 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.

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:

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 Sarah Slayton, CSUB athletics marketing manager, 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:

The winning classroom will be announced on Feb. 8.

Children from all 192 classrooms will be invited to Kids Weekend, Feb. 20-21, where they will pay only $1 admission to the Friday and Saturday night CSUB basketball games at Centennial Garden, and receive a coupon for a free item at the snack bar.

The Rowdy About Reading winning classroom will receive use of the KUZZ suite at Centennial Garden for the Feb. 20 CSUB basketball game vs. CSU Los Angeles, a pizza party in the suite from Papa O’s Pizzeria, autographed pictures of the men’s and women’s basketball teams, and a visit in the suite from Rowdy Roadrunner, the CSUB mascot.

Currently, the top five classrooms are:

“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.