This year marks the 25th anniversary of the AM-1220 KHTS 4th Grade Book Reports, sponsored by California Credit Union and Barnes & Noble, where Santa Clarita Valley elementary school students read their book report live on the radio.
“We started with kindergarten students back in 1990. We had another drought and the Castaic Lake Water Agency wanted to promote water conservation, so we came up with this idea of doing water conservation tips,” said Carl Goldman, KHTS AM-1220 co-owner. “My oldest was in kindergarten at the time at Sulphur Springs Community Elementary School, so we decided to do a special water tip on air thing with all the kids.“
Chelsea McKeon, the niece of former Congressman Buck McKeon, gave the first conservation tip of “Don’t flush spiders down the toilet.”
“How could you possibly make up something like that,” Goldman said, with a chuckle.
Soon after, former Newhall School District Superintendent Marc Winger said, “it would be such a great idea” to have an on-air book report, Goldman said.
“We learned that fourth grade seemed to be that magic year. The kids sounded great on the radio and they weren’t quite cynical yet,” Goldman said. “Here we are, 25 years later. Now all of the school districts are involved and we’ve done thousands of book reports.”
Pico Canyon Elementary School fourth grader, Kaia Cavin, of Miss Stafford’s class, read her book report about “Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief” for the anniversary Tuesday morning.
“This experience is priceless and I couldn’t trade it for anything in the entire world,” said Silvia Felix, Business Development Officer for California Credit Union, about hearing the 4th Grade Book Reports. “We were funded by educators in 1933 and we’re sticking to our vision. Education is very important and it engages the entire community. I can’t wait to go to the other campuses.”
California Credit Union has been a sponsor of the 4th Grade Book Reports for a number of years and will be giving a scholarship to a fourth grade student at the end of the 2015-16 school year.
New this year, Barnes & Noble has come onboard to support the 4th Grade Book Reports.
“We’re very excited to jump on board and promote literacy throughout all of our schools,” said Aimee Ortiz, community business development manager for Barnes & Noble. “Every child that comes on air, they can come into the store and we’re going to give them a free book to choose.”
Barnes & Noble staff regularly host events to promote literacy. This Saturday, Sept. 26. there will be a Batman reading event at 2 p.m. Batman may even make an appearance.