Sac State’s Bookworms group helps kids get a head start on reading

Ivy McDonald

One communication studies class on campus is trying to help underprivileged children in the area by hosting a book drive.

Nick Trujillo’s senior seminar in small group communication has formed the Bookworms, a small group that has been collecting books for kids throughout the semester.

“It’s a really good cause with great participants and I feel great about being a part of it,” said Ed Shapley, organizational communications major. “I’ve raised three kids and I’ve really seen the difference it makes when they read. They develop the ability to reason.”

The group is collecting books for preschool and grade school children, ages 3 to 8. The Bookworms’ donation bin is available on the fifth floor of Mendocino Hall in the communications office. On Nov. 22 the group will be taking all donations to the Salvation Army preschool in Sacramento.

“It’s really interesting to be part of something that will make such a huge impact on peoples’ lives,” said Emily Martin, senior English major. “These are underprivileged kids who are living in our own backyards who just don’t have the resources without our help.”

The Bookworms is a one-semester group who disbands after the semester is over. Each semester the Small Group Communications class has a different large-project focus. This group has the potential to become a full-time group on campus if a student is willing to start it.

“This group is exciting,” said Song Moua, senior communication studies major. “Children don’t read as much now as they should. They just go on social networking sites and text each other. Reading to them early will help them write better than instant messaging will. This semester this is the main focus of this group, and next semester the class will do something different.”

Low-income families usually do not have enough time or funds to read to their children, even though reading with a child for half an hour a day will improve their reading skills by years. Working with teachers and tutors will help, but families should start the learning process early. Boys especially have a hard time reading and have a higher school drop-out rate than girls do.

“Kids do overwhelmingly better in school if they start to read early,” Martin said. “I’ve never had this opportunity in any other class or program. I want to be a teacher so it’s great to be able to have this impact.”

Ivy McDonald can be reached at [email protected]