“Read, Learn, Return” project promotes literacy and academic preparation for youth

Without a doubt students of all ages can reach newer heights with a strong support system from the very beginning of their educational career. About three months ago, the project “Read, Learn, Return” was introduced to the Castro Valley Rotary Club by Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi in efforts to increase literacy rates amongst children at a younger age.

“Read, Learn, Return” intends to promote literacy, numeracy, and collaboration skills in hopes to better prepare preschoolers for kindergarten. Each week the participating preschool students in CVUSD would have the opportunity to check out a bag with three fun books, an engaging board game, and a set of questions to promote critical thinking.

It also gives the parents of those students a chance to spend more time reading books, playing board games, and bonding with their kids. And with frequent rotations of the board games and books for each student, they will have the chance to read about 150 different books by the end of the year.

The sponsor for the project, Castro Valley Rotary Club, has allocated roughly five thousand dollars for purchasing materials to support the idea.

“This is the first time we have ever done this project in our district. If it turns out to be successful other rotary clubs can replicate it,” remarked Ahmadi.

The inspiration for “Read, Learn, Return” stemmed from Ahmadi’s experience with working on the State Assembly’s Blue Ribbon Commission to formulate a blueprint in aiding families with children between the ages of zero to five with their education. Many families with young children expressed their concerns with having minimal support for their education during the early stages.

“Although I have never worked with schools for children aged zero to five, I recognized how important it was to begin preparing them at a younger age for school,” explained Ahmadi.

Additionally, each participating family would receive a journal to reflect on their experience with the books and boardgames and have a chance to see growth in their learning abilities.

While this project is still in the works, Ahmadi has also teamed up with the CVHS Interact Club to ensure an organized check-out process and smooth test trial during the summer at the Early Bird Montessori School. On March 8, Ahmadi and CVHS Interact members (Theo Santiago, Katie Tam, Nicolette Paredes, and Katelyn Wong) went shopping for over 60 board games for the project.

“It was such a fun experience being able to buy games for kids out of the goodness of our hearts,” exclaimed volunteer Katie Tam.

The current goal for the project is to finish organizing all the backpacks within the next two weeks.   

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