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Don't just teach your children to read. Teach them to question what they read.
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Air Lift to LA: Canadian authors deliver books to Los Angeles

Access Books and “Air Lift to L.A.” deliver books to Compton School on October 2. See facebook.com/group.php?gid=121216734588705.

Los Angeles – As part of their ongoing commitment to strengthen inner-city school libraries throughout Los Angeles and beyond, Access Books has joined forces with a team of Canadian authors to help Ralph Bunche Elementary (16223 Haskins Lane, Carson, CA 90746-1092) on October 2, 2010 at 9 a.m. One of 25 elementary schools in the Compton Unified School District, Bunche is in desperate need of books for its 450 students.

Access Books, “Air Lift to L.A.” and a team of volunteers from Bunche will spend October 2nd revitalizing the library by painting murals and cataloging brand new books. In addition to the books, Access Books will provide a reading rug, rocking chair and sofa to create a warm and inviting environment for students. Five authors from Canada will be on hand for the event and to give fun and exciting presentations to the students.

The participating authors are

  • Rob Weston, author of Silver Birch award winner Zorgamazoo
  • Kari-Lynn Winters, author Jeffrey and the Sloth, On My Walk, and other award-winning books
  • Jill Murray, YA author of Rhythm and Blues and Break on Through
  • Wendy Kitts, Freelance Writer, Book Reviewer, and author of a soon-to-be published picture book from Nimbus Press
  • Helaine Becker, author of more than 40 books for children including Silver Birch award winners Boredom Blasters and Secret Agent Y.O.U.

Sadly, only 48 percent of Bunche’s students are scoring “proficient” or “advanced” in English & Language Arts on the California Standards Test. Research has shown that the best predictor of how well a child will learn to read is the number of books to which he or she has access, but 61 percent of economically disadvantaged children don’t have age-appropriate books at home. The students of Bunche Elementary fit this profile: 90 percent live at or below the poverty line. According to a 2009 report from the Jumpstart Foundation, communities ranking high in achievement tests share a common denominator: an abundance of books in their libraries.

California’s Department of Education recommends 28 library books per student, according to the February 2010 draft of its School Library Standards. Bunche, however, has a mere three books per student. Therefore, Access Books has set a goal: Collect at least 5,000 books for Bunche’s library and classrooms. Many of these will be brand new, popular fiction titles – books that have been carefully selected to get students excited about reading.

My trip was covered in a number of newspaper articles, including:

  1. Enthusiasm stacks up in Carson school’s book drive,” in LA Times
  2. Canadian Group Plans “Air-Lift” to Help Compton School,” in NBC Los Angeles
  3. Access Books and Airlift to L.A. to deliver books to inner-city school on October 2nd,” in papertigers.org
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