By Matthew Perry, Berkeley Center
Several students and staff members at CIP Berkeley participated in a four-week program to read aloud to kindergartners at a low income school in Richmond, California. Many of the students at Cesar Chavez Elementary School come from Spanish-speaking families, and are trying hard to learn English as their second language.
Our students and staff read aloud to two students each session, for a half-hour each. It was fun for our students and a great chance for the kindergartners to improve their reading and comprehension skills. It was also a great way for CIP students to demonstrate their commitment to the community, especially to young people who live without many of the privileges that most of us have enjoyed.
The Read Aloud Volunteer Program recently ended for this school year, but will begin again in the Fall. The CIP Berkeley Student Senate will be donating $50 to help the program purchase new books, and hopes to return in the new school year with a fresh (and returning) crop of volunteers. It has been a rewarding experience for everyone so far, and some of the kindergartners began to bond with their regular readers just as the program was ending. Hopefully, those bonds will be renewed in the Fall. Everyone benefits when we connect with people–young or old–in our community.