For nearly 1,200 kindergarten through third-graders Friday, Sept. 7, was a day to celebrate reading during the Alliance for Education’s fifth annual Reading Rally at Cal State University, San Bernardino.

The event, sponsored by San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools office, aimed to spark a love of reading and help establish critical, strong reading habits among the young students from throughout the county.

County Superintendent Ted Alejandre opened the day of reading activities by impressing on students the importance of literacy and congratulating them on surpassing the summer reading challenge to read 5 million words set by the San Bernardino County Footsteps2Brilliance Initiative.

Through the program’s online reading app students collectively reported reading 6,071,500 words, 19,127 books between June 1 and Sept. 7. Approximately 2,500 hours of reading.

“Our goal is to promote reading, promote literacy as the key foundation to being successful in school and to being lifelong learners,” said Lynne Kennedy, a senior administrator for Alliance of Education, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools. “We also want to support what our teachers are doing in the classroom to make sure that we cultivate a positive attitude toward reading and learning.”

The event partnered with numerous libraries educational and community organizations to host reading events, story times, puppet shows and book giveaways.

According to County Schools School Health Program Coordinator John Juniper it was an “all-hands-on-deck effort.” Juniper read “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs” dressed as the wolf trying to clear his name.

“I love having the students here and seeing their enthusiasm for reading and their interacting with the storytellers,” Kennedy said.

The event was co-sponsored by Cal State San Bernardino with contributions and participation from: Auto Club Speedway, California Speech-Language Hearing Assoc., Child Assistance Fund, Child Care Resource Center, First 5 San Bernardino, Inland Empire Health Plan, County Fire Department, County Library, County Preschool Services Department, Quality Start San Bernardino and United Way.

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