“I think it’s really cool,” third-grade student Jacob Schauerman said. He believes the extra reading has helped improve his skills in Open Court Reading, the school’s language arts program where students read literature from various genres. He also appreciates the library’s selection of reading material. “I like that they have a lot of good books,” he said. The Wonder of Reading program provides the initial funds for restocking the library with new books, but after that the school is responsible for fundraising and book purchases, librarian Laurie Pisano said. The Wonder of Reading was established in 1994 and helps schools build new libraries through its 3R Program to “Renovate, Restock and Read.” By the end of this year, the group will have renovated 187 libraries in the Los Angeles Unified School District and seven other districts, provided more than $2million worth of new books, trained 5,000 volunteers and assisted 300,000 students. The volunteers, who are also called reading partners, are required to attend a three-hour training session, where they learn about comprehension, vocabulary and other strategies before they work with students. Volunteers then read with students once a week or once every other week during school hours for a six-month period. In most of San Pedro’s elementary schools, the student-volunteer ratio is one-to-one. However, many students are stuck on a waiting list and can’t participate in the program because of the lack of volunteers. At Fifteenth Street Elementary, librarian Suzanne Diaz has 14 volunteers and 16 participants enrolled in the program, but needs readers for 20 students currently on the waiting list. Librarian Ashley Bose is faced with a similar situation at Barton Hill Elementary, where she has 16 volunteers and 20 students. “We have a lot of loyal volunteers who return year after year,” she said. But she still needs more reading partners to work with the 50 students on her waiting list. To fill the gap in reading partners, Saaty tried to recruit local high school students, but found that they weren’t available during regular school hours. She said that most of the current volunteers are adults from the local community and that more are desperately needed. Evelyn Packer, the librarian at Seventh Street Elementary, believes that people need to see the program for themselves to understand the benefits students gain from it. “If people would dabble in it a little, they would see that they would like it,” she said. Justina.Ly@dailybreeze.com160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! By Justina Ly STAFF WRITER The library at Taper Avenue Elementary School rarely gets a quiet moment. Students in Miss Cornell’s second-grade class bustle in eager to read, and their excitement permeates the room. Some students grab their books and settle on the three-step staircase that dominates a corner of the room, while others slowly browse the book-filled shelves that line the walls. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.The school’s spacious and student-friendly library was created in 2002 with the Wonder of Reading, a nonprofit organization that renovates libraries, provides new books and recruits volunteers to read with struggling students in grades 2 to 5. Taper Avenue is just one of eight San Pedro elementary schools that have successfully created new libraries under the program. But parents and teachers say many students at area elementary schools are still waiting to take advantage of the reading program because they are short on volunteers. “Most volunteers take on more than one student,” said Christine Saaty, a parent and coordinator of the program at Taper Avenue. “It’s not an ideal situation, but sometimes we double up.” Taper Avenue currently has 15 volunteers and 50 students enrolled in its Wonder of Reading program, and 25 students on the waiting list. Students are selected for the program based on such factors as teacher recommendations, low test scores, a need to improve their speech and phonics skills or a low interest in reading.