The Santa Clarita Valley Education Foundation said this week that more than 2,000 local kindergarten students receive books from its weekly “Bag of Books” program.
The program is designed to give low-income students around the Santa Clarita Valley books that they can take home with them, according to officials.
Each week, classrooms enrolled in the program give each of their kindergarteners four age-appropriate books in a take-home bag on Monday. On Friday, the students return the books.
The following Monday, they receive a brand new set of books to take home with them.
Jackie Hartmann, executive director of the SCV Education Foundation, said that over the course of the school year, students following the program can have potentially read as many as 120 different books.
“The teachers are just so happy to get the books into kids’ hands in any shape, way or form,” Hartmann said. “We started ‘Bag of Books’ in 2011, and it put books in the hands of kindergarten classrooms that a majority of the student population is socioeconomically disadvantaged.”
The books are not only different week to week, but different in every bag, with one being a phonics/site-reader, one early-reader, one non-fiction, and one “stretch” book of a higher reading level that students can read with the help of a parent or an adult, Hartmann said. She added that the goal of the program is to provide books at home and to instill a love of reading, according to Hartmann.
“Obviously, it’s something we’re very proud of to touch the lives of 2,000 new learners with a program focused on literacy,” she said. “This is something uniquely done in Santa Clarita and we’re just proud that we’re able to fundraise and write grants that allow us to roll out this program to more students.”
“Bag of Books” is now in 85 classrooms at 22 Santa Clarita Valley elementary schools, and involves at least two-thirds of the kindergarten population in Santa Clarita, Hartmann added.
The next school to be added into the program is Santa Clarita Elementary School, where two kindergarten classrooms will begin receiving books in the near future. Every year the SCV Foundation adds more school’s to their program, according to officials.
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