Six “Think Big” Reading Rooms are set to open in North County elementary schools on Thursday and Friday, provided by the nonprofit Carson Scholars Fund.
The fund was created by U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson and his wife, Candy, and works to create Reading Rooms dedicated to combating illiteracy and promoting leisure reading as a key to unlocking a child’s full potential.
Reading Rooms will be opened at four schools in the Escondido Union School District: Rock Springs Elementary (8:10 to 9:10 a.m.), Conway Elementary (9:30 to 10:30 a.m.) and Juniper Elementary (11 a.m. to noon) will open their rooms on Thursday. Pioneer Elementary (8:10 to 9:15 a.m.) will open its room on Friday, and so will two schools in the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District: Maie Ellis Elementary (10 to 11:15 a.m.) and Live Oak Elementary (1 to 2 p.m.). Candy Carson is scheduled to be in attendance at the openings, which are open to the public.
Now in its 19th year, the Reading Room project continues to provide funding and support for schools to create environments to entice children to read. Most schools have libraries, but often they are places where children are working on school assignments or receiving instruction. The Reading Rooms, on the other hand, allow children to read just for the pleasure and enjoyment of books. Each room is filled with hundreds of books for students to explore in a variety of topics and genres.
“We are thrilled to be expanding our reach in Southern California,” said Candy Carson in a statement. “The Reading Room project began in Maryland and has grown exponentially over the years. … (it) remains committed to creating dedicated literacy spaces where children can become proficient and enthusiastic readers.”
The cost of building a reading room is $17,500, and the Escondido and Fallbrook Reading Rooms are sponsored by the Eleni and Wolfgang Gagon Trust. “The Gagons were passionate about education and their ocean-side (San Diego) community,” said Carson. “The Reading Room project captures their spirit for literacy and children, and allows their legacy to continue in the place they called home.”
To date, the Carson Scholars Fund has sponsored nearly 20 Think Big Reading Rooms in Southern California, including at L.R. Green Elementary in Escondido, Laurel Elementary and Bonsall West Elementary in Oceanside, Twin Oaks Elementary and San Marcos Elementary in San Marcos, and Ocean View Christian Academy in San Diego.
The Ben Carson Reading Project has reached more than 98,000 students in 23 states and Washington, D.C., bought more than 106,000 high-interest books and invested more than $2.8 million in the program. Visit www.carsonscholars.org.
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