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Local University Gives Away Books to Kids in the Community with Open Book Project

Belmont, Calif., April 11, 2014 — More than 60 excited second graders will be scattered in small groups throughout Gellert Library on the campus of Notre Dame de Namur University on Tuesday, April 15, listening with rapt attention to the words of Lewis Carroll, Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein and dozens of others read by NDNU students, faculty and staff.

NDNU students, faculty and staff will spend the afternoon reading to groups of children from Belle Air Elementary School and at the end of the day each child will leave with a new book of his or her own to take home and read with family members. This is the third year that students in the university’s Community Psychology class have conducted the NDNU Open Book Project for a local elementary school. The goal is to work with local schools in the area to encourage and provide engaging reading activities for young children and their families and get them excited about reading. The university students also raised money to purchase books for the elementary school's classrooms and library.

“We collaborated with the teachers at Belle Air and they provided us with the list of fiction books that the kids would be interested in reading. Each child gets to choose a book to keep and take home,” said Gretchen Wehrle, Ph.D., chair, Department of Psychology and Sociology at NDNU. “Most of these second grade students do not have relatives who have gone to college, so it is also a great opportunity for them to visit a university like NDNU and learn about the possibility of going to college.”

This is not the first time that NDNU and Belle Air Elementary School have collaborated on projects. Back in March, the California Council on Teacher Education gave the Belle Air Elementary School and Notre Dame de Namur University partnership the distinction of “exemplary program” in teacher education and preparation. The award recognized a unique two-year partnership between NDNU and Belle Air, once classified as a low-performing school, which has resulted in a sharp improvement in student performance.

Media Opportunities:

WHERE: Notre Dame de Namur University Library: 1500 Ralston Ave., Belmont, 94002

WHO: Belle Air Elementary School second grade students and faculty

and Notre Dame de Namur University students and faculty

WHEN: Tuesday, April 15 starting at noon

Reading activities between second graders and university students will take place from noon – 1 p.m. in the library.

Science activities will take place outside the library from 1:15 – 1:45 p.m.

CONTACT: Richard Rossi, NDNU director of communications at 650-508-3585 (office), 650-787-9951 (cell) or rrossi@ndnu.edu

Notre Dame de Namur University is a Catholic, not-for-profit, coeducational institution serving 2,000 traditional aged and adult students from diverse backgrounds. Established in 1851, by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, NDNU maintains a strong commitment to academic excellence, social justice and community engagement. The university is fully accredited and offers 37 undergraduate, graduate and credential programs. The historic, 50-acre campus is located on the San Francisco Peninsula in Silicon Valley. For more information, visit www.ndnu.edu.

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