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College of Science and Mathematics

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Liberal Studies Majors Connect Kids with Books

Cal Poly students holding children's books and art work
Janine Hsieh (left), Alexandria Grant and Hannah Loth display the book
"Smelly Socks" along with sample art projects based on the book. In March,
Cal Poly students visited Mary Buren Elementary School in Guadalupe, Calif.,
to read the book, lead an art project, and give away copies of the book.

June 6, 2014

Over 150 second-graders took home their own copy of a popular children's book thanks to Cal Poly's chapter of the Student California Teachers Association (SCTA) and a $1,000 National Education Association CLASS grant. The grant funded a book donation and reading program in high needs elementary schools and read-alouds at the San Luis Obispo Children's Museum.

The Books in Schools program brought Cal Poly liberal studies and child development majors to local, high-needs elementary schools for a day of reading and craft activities. At the end of the day, all elementary students received a copy of the book they read.

In March, volunteers visited all the second grade classrooms at Mary Buren Elementary School in Guadalupe. Calif. "You could tell that for some of the children, this was perhaps the only book they had ever had to themselves," said Hannah Loth, one of the liberal studies volunteers. "It was refreshing to see so many students showing their appreciation for reading and learning."

In May, volunteers visited Oceano Elementary School in Oceano, Calif.

SCTA also used the grant funds to run Children's Museum Read Alouds. Once a month, the San Luis Obispo Children's Museum got an influx of literary energy as liberal studies students brought their enthusiasm along with a book to read and an activity based on the book. The program featured books that aligned with the museum's monthly theme.

In addition to serving the community, the volunteers got a taste of their future life as elementary school teachers. "These programs give the volunteers an experience of how they would engage their students on the first day of class," said Janine Hsieh, SCTA president.

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