With the ever increasing prominence of technology, it is easy to believe that children are not reading as much as they used to. However, with results of the Abundant Books for Children Project’s October reading event in hand, director Susan Neufeld has proof that this is not entirely true.
The third annual reading event, themed Readers are Rock Stars, prompted students to record the number of minutes they read throughout the month of October. According to Neufeld, out of the 41 classrooms that took part there were a total of 672,310 minutes recorded.
Nearly half of those minutes came exclusively from the 11 Turlock classrooms that participated. Twenty-six percent of the total minutes came from the five classrooms that participated at Osborn Two-Way Immersion Academy.
“So if someone wants to tell me that kids aren’t reading, I have got the numbers to back that kids are in fact reading and it’s impressive,” said Neufeld.
Although the ABC Project’s main focus is providing early reading material to children until the age of five, the event shifted gears to encourage students in kindergarten through sixth grade to continue reading by thinking in terms of awards that books have won.
“There is nothing more important than getting kids to read and giving them access to books,” said Neufeld. “Reading is the foundation for everything they will do in school.”
As a fundraiser for the ABC Project, the event provides teachers who make a donation to the project with assorted prizes for students and the opportunity to win books for their classrooms. In order to win books, classrooms from each grade level compete against each other with number of minutes read, with first place receiving 15 books, Scholastic bonus points, and a gift card to a local grocery store.
Neufeld also offered to visit participating classrooms and read to them. Throughout October, the director traveled approximately 650 miles to school locations ranging from Tracy to Lemoore.
Between donations made by classroom teachers and pledges Neufeld received for reading in classrooms, the event raised $2,500 for the project. With this money, ABC Project will continue to provide 1,000 books to preschoolers in Turlock.
“This event was not work for me, this was a joy,” said Neufeld. “It means so much to me to get the opportunity to share books with kids. It does not get much better than that.”
With this year’s event having come successfully to a close, Neufeld is already looking forward to next year. Classroom teachers who are interested in participating next year, or those looking to donate and support the program, are encouraged to contact Neufeld at 664-6719 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Neufeld will accept a maximum of 50 classrooms for the event.