In Reading Rooms on 12/05/2019 - 9:30 AM

Six Think Big Reading Rooms Open in California!

The Think Big Reading Project is a conduit between the Carson Scholars Fund, reading room sponsors, and schools.  This three-pronged approach has brought like-minded individuals together with the common goal of providing literacy opportunities for children to become proficient and enthusiastic readers.  On Thursday, September 18, the CSF united the Trust of Eleni and Wolfgang Gagon with three Escondido Union Schools: Rock Springs Elementary, Conway Elementary and Juniper Elementary.

The whirlwind festivities began in the morning at Rock Springs Elementary.  Students, staff and special guests gathered outside for an all-school assembly to learn more about this valuable new resource.  A short-time later it was Conway Elementary’s turn to showcase its reading room.  Students and special guests congregated in the school’s media center for a program which was followed by the unveiling of the reading room.  The final opening of the day was held at Juniper Elementary where Mrs. Candy Carson and one lucky student had the honor of cutting the ribbon to officially open the room.

The reading room at Rock Springs Elementary features a castle theme, while the reading rooms at Conway and Juniper harness the magical power of reading in the great outdoors.  Although each of the reading rooms is aesthetically unique, the schools shared the same objective: filling the shelves with books that engage, motivate and excite students.

Candy Carson was privileged to attend all three reading room openings and was excited to share the power of reading with the young scholars.

Currently there are four Think Big Reading Room locations in Escondido Union Public Schools.  The first Think Big Reading Room to be established in the school district was at L.R. Green Elementary in May 2019.

The following day, students at Maie Ellis Elementary in Fallbrook, California were also able to Think Big or Piensa en Grande.   On Friday, September 20 this dual-language immersion school officially opened its Think Big Reading Room.  The event began with an all-school assembly presided over by Maie Ellis Elementary School students.  During the ceremony, students shared what it means to Think Big, and the Maie Ellis Elementary cheerleaders led the students in the school’s chant.  After the ceremony, guests were escorted to the media center for the unveiling of “Camp Read.”  Camping has been known to have profound effects on individuals.  It reduces stress and is a great escape from the daily grind.  Maie Ellis Elementary students will be able to reap the benefits of camping without stepping a foot off of school grounds.  The focal point of the space is a wall-sized mural reminiscent of Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night.  Students can cozy up to a faux campfire or relax with a good book while sitting on cushioned tree stump stools.  The school’s book collection features over 500 books with many titles available in Spanish.  Eleni and Wolfgang Gagon, the reading room sponsors, prided themselves on being lifelong learners.  The Think Big Reading Room will help the Maie Ellis scholars become passionate about learning by fueling their curiosity and thirst for knowledge.

In addition, Pioneer Elementary in Escondido, CA, summoned fearless explorers to the campus to unveil the school’s new jungle-themed Think Big Reading Room and to celebrate literacy on Friday, September 20.  The day’s festivities began with an all-school outside assembly. During the ceremony student ambassadors shared the meaning of Think Big and the third grade students sang a song about respect.  After the pomp and circumstance, guests were escorted to the school’s Think Big Reading Room.  The double doors leading into the reading room cautioned explorers that “it’s a jungle in here,” however, instead of getting lost in thick, thorny brush, students can get lost in a good book.   This vibrant reading room features numerous seating options and huge green leaves strategically placed throughout the room to filter out harsh fluorescent lights making the space both adventurous and relaxing.  Adorable stuffed jungle animals keep watchful eyes on the students as they explore a book collection that contains nearly 3,000 fiction and non-fiction books.

Lastly, Friday, September 20 will go down in history as an exceptional day at Live Oak Elementary in Fallbrook, California.  The morning was like any other with an abundance of reading, writing and arithmetic taking place inside the classrooms.  As the afternoon wore on, anticipation filled the air.  Special guests would soon be arriving to open the school’s Think Big Reading Room.  The special guests included CSF Co-founder Mrs. Candy Carson, Yorba Linda, and Mayor Tara Campbell, the youngest female mayor in U.S. history of a city with a population of more than 30,000, as well as the youngest female mayor in California.

The afternoon began with students gathering in the library for a special program to celebrate the completion of the school’s Think Big Reading Room.  Immediately following the ceremony, guests were ushered into the reading room where they had the opportunity to explore a day-in-the-park-themed reading room.  The decorating committee thought it was appropriate that a live oak tree mural complete with woodland animals be included in the décor of the reading room, especially since it is the school’s namesake. To incorporate nature even more, children have the option of sitting on tree trunk stools.  Throw pillows with birds, dragonflies, and bumble bees are placed on the remaining furniture throughout the room.  The best part of the reading room is the books!  Over 500 of the most popular titles line the bookshelves.  Children are sure to enjoy this reading room for years to come.

This is the 25th reading room to be sponsored by the Eleni and Wolfgang Gagon Trust.


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