photo by Barbara Reid
Second-Graders from Costaño School to Receive a Personal Library at Literacy Event

June 3, 2008

Each Student Will Get a Custom-Built Bookshelf and Selection of Books to Take Home

Jennifer Advani, Jewish Coalition for Literacy
650-940-1229, jadvani@jcrc.org
Meryl Ginsberg, Volunteer Project Communicator
650-416-4285, meryl123@yahoo.com

East Palo Alto, CA—May 28, 2008—Second grade students from the Costaño School, a public elementary school in East Palo Alto, will each receive a custom-built bookshelf and a selection of books to take home, as part of a literacy event taking place June 3, 2008, at 5pm. The event kicks off the Costaño School Book Project, a multi-faceted initiative to enhance literacy and reading skills at the Costaño School, which is being co-sponsored by Congregation Beth Am of Los Altos, the East Palo Alto Kids Foundation (EPAK), and the Jewish Coalition for Literacy.

“Volunteers have spent hundreds of hours over evenings and weekends building 50 bookshelves for the Costaño School second graders, as well as collecting books for distribution to the students and to improve the school’s library,” said Richard Stark, coordinator of the project for Congregation Beth Am. “We’re very excited about finally giving a bookshelf and books to each child to take home.”

The project has collected over 4,000 books through its book drives so far. Of these, 640 age-appropriate books were collected by third grade students at the Oak School in Los Altos when Mrs. Stephanie Tyson’s third-grade class adopted the Costaño School Book Project as their community service project for the year. The Oak School third graders also held a drive for recyclable cans and bottles, and as a result contributed $70.66 for the purchase of additional books. Book drives were also conducted at the Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School (Palo Alto), and at Santa Rita Elementary School (Los Altos).

The literacy event will be the first of many reading encouragement activities that are planned as part of the multi-year project.

According to Jennifer Advani, Peninsula Program Manager with the Jewish Coalition for Literacy, the evening is designed to introduce parents to the fundamentals of literacy acquisition. “Many parents of students at Costaño do not speak English, and many have only rudimentary literacy skills themselves,” she said. “Our reading specialist, Joan Green, will make a presentation in both Spanish and English, designed to teach parents how, in spite of their own literacy and language challenges, they can support their children as they learn to read.”

Babysitting services at the literacy event will be provided by volunteers from Congregation Beth Am. The schedule for the evening will be as follows:

5:00 – 5:30 Presentation of bookshelves
5:30 – 6:15 Spanish presentation
6:15 – 7:00 English presentation

About the Costaño School Book Project
The Costaño School Book Project is a multi-faceted initiative that will enhance literacy and reading skills at the Costaño School, a public elementary school in East Palo Alto. Co-sponsored by Congregation Beth Am of Los Altos, the East Palo Alto Kids Foundation (EPAK), and the Jewish Coalition for Literacy, the project encompasses library refurbishment and reading encouragement activities, including volunteer tutoring, literacy events, and organized family reading activities at the school. The project is scheduling book drives, fundraising efforts, and reading encouragement volunteer training duing the summer of 2008; interested people are encouraged to visit the project website at www.costanoschool.com.