Lunchtime and Literacy: New Program Encourages Family Reading

Friday December 1, 2023

Students and parents came together for a reading picnic Wednesday at San Lauren Elementary School (Beardsley School District). This is part of a new Literacy Lunch Club program that helps encourage reading among families.

Parents were invited to join their students for lunch and to read books together in a relaxed atmosphere. Beardsley School District is the first district to implement this program.

Principal Jack Chen says this event is all about building a tighter family connection and encouraging reading and literacy. He noted that some parents work two or three jobs and don’t always have time to read to their kids at home, so this program gives them a chance to spend some time with their kids. 

The district worked with KCSOS to put this reading lunch program in place. “They’re the ones that brought the idea to my table… to promote connectedness and community partnership,” said Chen. “They were a tremendous asset for our success here, and I hope to continue to partner with them in the years coming.”

Ana Adamson, a program specialist with KCSOS says the hope is to expand the program to more districts. 

“I think any activity that involves parents and gets parents involved in the school and our kids’ education is important,” said parent Morgan Jacobson. “They just are really welcoming, inviting families in, they like the parent participation, and it helps our kids.”

San Lauren Elementary School Teacher Debbi Shetrone agrees that parent participation is key. 

“When the kids see that their parents are involved at school, I think school becomes more important to them too,” she said. “It introduces them to the idea that reading is something that is worth spending time on.”

According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), reading aloud to your kids at least once a day is one of the most important things a parent can do to help their child build reading and writing skills.

Research shows family reading helps children improve their language skills, enhances cognitive development, encourages empathy and social awareness, promotes family bonds, and sets children up for continued success in the future.

“Showing up for them, even if it’s the simplest thing,” said parent Ana Marmolejo. “It’s what makes them happy.”

By Katie Avery

By Katie Avery

Katie Avery joined the Kern County Superintendent of Schools in 2023 as a Communications Specialist. As a former journalist and marketing professional, her passions include media and storytelling. Before joining KCSOS, Avery worked for various local TV stations as well as the health care industry.