November 26, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Young Readers Thrive in SMC Program:

By Samuel Harwood

The simple act of reading aloud serves as the beginning of an education for some and as a continuation for others. The Reading Mentors program at the Pico Branch Library has been developed to accommodate the full spectrum of learning stages.

Initiated two years ago as a partnership between the library and Santa Monica College (SMC), the program allows children in grades K-5 from the Venice and Santa Monica area the opportunity to read socially with SMC student volunteers.

It started with a course taught by SMC professor Steve Kaufman called “Philosophy in Children’s Literature,” which uses children’s books to give students the tools to think, write and communicate philosophically, and asks a central question: “Do adults necessarily know better than children?”

While Prof. Kaufman started the Reading Mentors program as a way to answer that question while providing a chance for students to fulfill their community service opportunity, it has inspired growth in both the adults and children involved. Many of the volunteers in the program, now in its third semester, have continued to participate long after fulfilling the requirement.

“I’m moving back to Tennessee in June but if I wasn’t then I would still participate every year,” says two-term reading mentor Seth Worsham.

Occurring weekly over two six-week sessions a year, groups are divided into three to four children per mentor who take turns reading page-by-page, stopping to discuss completed sections. The discussions vary from movies of which a certain section reminded the children to philosophical questions such as, in Prof. Kaufman’s words, “What does it mean to be a Moose? If you put a human brain in a robot’s body is the robot still a robot? What is a friend? Would you rather have all the money in the world or would you rather have all the happiness in the world?”

So not only do the kids involved – many of whom are first generation immigrants – receive extra reading assistance, but they are inspired to ask universal questions. And the students, who may not have interacted with young children before, learn to maneuver through potentially uncomfortable situations. 

“The children start realizing that they have philosophical and critical abilities and the students, the SMC students realize too that there’s not much difference between children and adults,” said Kaufman.

in News
Related Posts

Edify TV: Layoffs Coming as LA County Suspends Outdoor Dining

November 25, 2020

November 25, 2020

“We are laying off about 70 percent of our staff,” says a local restaurant owner in the wake of LA County...

New Santa Monica Wood-Fired Pizza Restaurant Closes Right After Opening

November 25, 2020

November 25, 2020

Ghisallo’s wood-fired pizza closes due to a plumbing issue after less than 24 hours after opening By Toi Creel A...

SMMUSD Reopening Updates: Santa Monica Beat – November, 23, 2020

November 23, 2020

November 23, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * SMMUSD Reopening Updates * Homicides Reach 300 Highest Rate in A...

SMC Maintains 30 Year Run Streak as No. 1 Transfer College to UC System

November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

SMC sent 1,197 students to UC campuses in prior academic year Santa Monica College (SMC) has maintained a record 30-year...

Westside Chefs React to New Dining Restrictions

November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

Capacity in Los Angeles restaurants capped at 50 percent By Toi Creel Local restaurants are having to make some big...

New Findings Show Botched Santa Monica Police Response to May 31st Riots: Santa Monica Beat – November, 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * New Findings Show Botched Santa Monica Police Response to May 31st...

Free COVID-19 Antibody Test in Santa Monica

November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

November 19-21 at Calvary Baptist Church of Santa Monica A Santa Monica church is pairing up with a non-profit charity...

Randy’s Donuts Coming to Santa Monica

November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

2021 opening pegged for popular donut shop  By Kerry Slater  Randy’s Donuts is opening in a Santa Monica space that...

Westside Golf Course to be Affordable Housing?

November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

As Los Angeles continues to grapple with an affordable housing crisis, an architect is proposing converting a Westside public golf...

12-Story Senior Housing Center to Include Memory Care Guest Rooms and More

November 17, 2020

November 17, 2020

Belmont Village project to go before Westwood Design Review Board By Sam Catanzaro A 12-story, 153-foot-tall, senior housing project is...

Santa Monica to Provide Thanksgiving Groceries to 1,430+ Food-Insecure Students and Families

November 17, 2020

November 17, 2020

SMC Foundation has raised $35,460 of the $50,000 toward charity event By Staff Writer Santa Monica College (SMC), the SMC Foundation,...

Edify TV: Reopening of Popular Westside Beach Workout Destination

November 17, 2020

November 17, 2020

“It’s just so great,” says a man on the reopening of a popular Westside beach workout destination. “This is therapy...

City Council Unanimously Votes to Weight In on Malibu Leaving SMMUSD: Santa Monica Beat – November, 16, 2020

November 16, 2020

November 16, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * City Council Unanimously Votes to Weight In on Malibu Leaving SMMUSD...