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Highlighting young, local readers in the community

Posted at 7:49 AM, Sep 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-07 11:39:28-04

YOUNG STUDENTS SHARE WHY READING IS IMPORTANT TO THEM — As KSBY continues its second "If You Give a Child a Book" campaign - helping children in need get access to books - we are highlighting a few standout students in our area with a passion for reading and big plans for their future.

“I love reading,” said 5-year old Grover Beach Elementary kindergartner, Valia Rotondo.

Valia's mom says she showed a passion for reading when she was just over a year old. “We started her when she was very young. She sat down through her first book at 14 months,” said Gina Rotondo.

According to her mom, Valia hasn’t put a book down since.

“If she’s ever up late - it’s usually because she’s reading,” said Gina.

The hobby may cut into her sleep, but it’s also helping her make plans for the future.

“I love science and I want to be a chemist when I grow up.” said Valia.

Two brothers at Hawthorne Elementary - Judah and Gideon Feyma - share a love for fantasy novels.

“I just think it’s cool because you’re kind of in another world,” said Judah , 5th grader at Hawthorne Elementary.

Their parents planted the seed early on.

“Even from when i was little, when i was their age - I loved reading - so it’s just been a big part of what we do and how we spend our time," said mother, Krista Feyma.

The two boys have set big goals this year.

“I am trying to meet all my AR (accelerated reading) goals this year, and I am trying to speed read through a series of 4-5 books,” said Gideon.

Over at Sinsheimer Elementary, 4th grader Alaina Miller says, when she starts a book, she can’t put it down.

“I have this thing where I start reading a book - and all other noises just drown out,” said Alaina

Her mom, Andrea Miller, attributes her dedication to the resources found at local libraries - like summer programs.

“Every year she has done that - I think probably to get the Doc Burnstein's ice cream,” joked Andrea.

While the treats are nice -what these students get from a good book - seems like the real reward.

“i think it just helps you learn,” said Valia.

“Other than the 'amazingness' by itself, I think reading is just an important skill that we use everyday," said Judah. "I think most people are underrating how important that is in our lives.”

This year, KSBY has partnered with two Title One school's in Santa Maria, one in Oceano and another in San Miguel, to help provide the books they need for their students.

Arellanes Elementary School, Bonita Elementary, Oceano Elementary and Lillian Larson Elementary will be a part of our "Big Book Giveaway" in January as we partner with Scholastic to turn all the community donations into books for children who need them most.

The campaign begins Monday, Aug. 30, and lasts through Friday, Sept. 10.

The Scripps Howard Foundation will be matching donations, so make sure to donate early to ensure your pledge is being doubled!

For more information on KSBY's 'If You Give a Child a Book' campaign, click here.