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Book drive under way
 
March 28, 2005
CONTACT: Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456 or mstepanovich@csub.edu

Kern County can help preschool students be ready to read in kindergarten by donating to the Family Literacy Book Drive. It’s all part of the “Preschool Literacy Project” funded by a $600,000 grant from ChevronTexaco and directed by CSUB Literacy professor Geri Mohler. The drive officially kicked off March 17 and will wrap up April 18. The program is hoping to receive 5,000 to 10,000 books.

Mohler is asking for new or gently used books in English and Spanish. “The drive is helping the Preschool Literacy Project but it’s also for the whole family,” she stressed. “We’re not just looking for preschool material.”

Books will be categorized and distributed to the eight BCSD pre-kindergarten sites for their school libraries. Other titles will be distributed to various school libraries or made available to older children and adults. Each child in the pre-kindergarten program may choose several books to take home to keep but may later exchange them for other books.

The book drive is a community effort involving various organizations around the county including local Boy Scout troops. There are more than 80 drop off sites: CSUB, all county libraries, all BCSD school sites plus the education center, ChevronTexaco, Aera Energy, Occidental Elk Hills, the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, Russo’s Books, University Square at 2000 K St., Kern County Superintendent of Schools, and the Bakersfield College Library. Donations may also be arranged for pickup by CSUB students.

Mohler said through the literacy project 11 Bakersfield City pre-kindergarten classrooms with 22 teachers and 500 children will work with CSUB literacy coaches to enhance literacy skills and instruction. “It’s clear that positive early childhood experiences set the stage for life-long success-in the classroom and beyond,” said Warner Williams, ChevronTexaco San Joaquin Valley Business Unit Vice President. “We’re proud to support programs like the Preschool Literacy Project that deliver sustained benefits to the Bakersfield community.”

The impact within the district should be demonstrated within one to two years with children entering kindergarten with significantly higher emergent literacy skills.

Anyone interested in cash donations to this effort can make checks payable to the “Preschool Literacy Project” and send them to the CSUB Foundation, 9001 Stockdale Highway, Bakersfield 93311-1022. The money will be used to purchase teacher materials for the preschools. The project is in need of 11 sets of the Houghton Mifflin pre-kindergarten curriculum at $1,500 per set. Businesses are also welcome to partner with classrooms.

For more information or to request a pickup, please contact Mohler at (661) 665-6153.

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