Kentwood Elementary School in Westchester celebrated the grand opening of its “Wonder of Reading” library Friday, October 20th.

Kentwood is part of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).

“I’m excited that Kentwood Elementary School is now a part of the Wonder of Reading family,” said Marlene Canter, president of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) board of education and the District Four representative on the board.

“This newly renovated library will give Kentwood students a wonderful space for reading, performing and studying. I am happy to support such a wonderful project that makes such a large impact on our students and schools,” Canter said.

The Wonder of Reading is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization dedicated to renovating public elementary school libraries, restocking their shelves and helping to improve the reading skills of children.

Through its 3R Program — renovate, restock and read — The Wonder of Reading expands and renovates elementary school libraries, making them more useful and inviting to elementary students.

The organization works with individual school library committees to replace outdated and ruined books, and restocks library collections with $10,000 worth of new books.

The organization also works with schools to recruit volunteers who are then trained to read one-on-one with students.

Volunteers read with students for one hour each week during the school day for the entire school year.

Kentwood is seeking adults of all ages and vocations who are able to give a minimum of 30 minutes per week.

Background checks on volunteers will be conducted. Volunteers must register for training, bring photo identification and two references.

The next training date at Kentwood is February 13th. Information, Diane Volpe or Ann Hausner, (310) 670-8977.

“Kentwood’s new Wonder of Reading library is a fabulous facility that will enhance our learning environment, and boost the academic and social achievements of our students by providing them the opportunity to expand their world through reading for both pleasure and knowledge,” said Jean Pennicooke, Kentwood principal.

Kentwood’s library features a “literacy garden,” complete with plants, a solar-powered water fountain and benches so students may read outdoors.

The garden will serve as a location for volunteers to tutor and share with students books such as E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Cynthia Chin-Lee’s Amelia to Zora (26 Women Who Changed The World).

Following student performances in the school auditorium, invited guests participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the library to mark the official opening.

Joining in the celebration were Beth Michelson, executive director of The Wonder of Reading; Edgar Saenz, field representative for Congresswoman Maxine Waters and a member of the Westchester Rotary Club; and Tawny and Jerry Sanders of the Tawny and Jerry Sanders Charitable Foundation, a Beverly Hills-based foundation that has adopted Kentwood.

“Thanks to all of our donors, volunteers and committee members, lead by librarian Diane Volpe, for working so hard and diligently to bring this dream to fruition,” Pennicooke said.

Information, www.wonderof reading.org/schools.htm

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