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Book bounty bestowed to Rea Elementary

City National Bank, Barnes & Noble give $12,000 in books, funds to the Costa Mesa school.

February 02, 2011|By Britney Barnes, britney.barnes@latimes.com

The donations will help Henry get the library up-to-date after having no money to pay for it in about three years, she said.

The school requested that Barnes & Noble customers give books appropriate for kindergarteners through third-graders.

The school, which until three years ago only served fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students, was "sincerely lacking" in reading material for the younger students, she said.

The school's nonfiction books that students use for research were almost all out of date, Henry said.

Some of the donated money will be used to update those books, as well as buy class sets of certain fiction books.

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Reading together as a class, versus individually, builds fluency, Henry said.

Teachers can engage students in discussions or answer questions about the material, she said.

Students also take turns reading out loud, allowing them to work on their pronunciation — an especially important learning tool at Rea, she added.

Rea's students are predominately Latino, with 87% English as a second-language learners, said Principal Anna Corral.

State standardized test reports show that, in reading, students at Rea have lagged behind their grade-level peers at other district schools.

For example, nearly half of second-grade students at Rea, or 45%, achieved a "basic" level in English language arts testing compared with about a quarter, or 24%, of second-graders who scored "basic" across the district, according to 2010 STAR test data from the state Department of Education.

In contrast, only 13% of second-graders at Rea tested "proficient" in language arts — the next level up from "basic" — but 33% of second-graders districtwide were proficient in the subject.

Reading is a high priority at Rea, and the book donations will only help the school achieve its academic goals, she said.

"It encourages them to read when they have books they like to read," she said.

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