Ben Carson Reading Room opens at Bonsall West Elementary School

Bonsall West Elementary School students try out the new Ben Carson Reading Room dedicated on April 25. The military-themed room provides an environment for promotion of reading interest and skills for the students. Ken Seals photos
Bonsall West Elementary School students try out the new Ben Carson Reading Room dedicated on April 25. The military-themed room provides an environment for promotion of reading interest and skills for the students. Ken Seals photos

OCEANSIDE – Through the generosity of John Kendall, the Carson Scholars Fund is pleased to announce the opening of the first Ben Carson Reading Room in San Diego County at Bonsall West Elementary School.

The grand opening ceremony and ribbon cutting took place April 25 at Bonsall West Elementary School. Colonel Michael J. Borgschulte, USMC, attended and spoke during the ceremony.

The Ben Carson Reading Project is an initiative of the Carson Scholars Fund. The Carson Scholars Fund was founded by retired world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon and New York Times bestselling author Dr. Ben Carson and his wife, Candy.

The purpose of the Ben Carson Reading Project is to create a literacy enriched environment for children to develop their reading skills. The reading project is dedicated to promoting reading as a key to unlocking a child’s full potential. Dr. Ben Carson credits reading as being a catalyst to his success.

“When I was a child, reading allowed me to discover all of the opportunities that the world had to offer,” said Dr. Carson. “There are endless possibilities for students when they discover the joy of reading and learning. If children begin to challenge themselves to soak up all of the information they can, they will certainly be able to reach their goals and achieve their dreams.” “Bonsall West Elementary is delighted to be the latest recipient of a Ben Carson Reading Room and to build our Book Barracks,” said principal Tina Calabrese. “With our close proximity to Camp Pendleton’s Marine base, our military themed room is the perfect addition to our school. The Bonsall West Colts are proud to provide a safe, inviting place for our students to go to read for pleasure before, during and after school.

“We are humbled to have been selected and join the numerous schools with hosting a reading room,” continued Calabrese. “We feel so fortunate to have been granted this most generous donation to highlight for our students the importance of reading.”

Currently, there are 142 Ben Carson Reading Rooms serving students in 18 states and Washington, DC. Bonsall West Elementary is the 14th reading room to be located in California.

To learn more about the Carson Scholars Fund visit

10 Responses to "Ben Carson Reading Room opens at Bonsall West Elementary School"

  1. surferpl   April 29, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    These *used* to be called “libraries” and unless this is a private school this so-called “reading room” should not have *anybody’s* name attached to it or have ANY military decoration in it at all — regardless of its proximity to Camp Pendleton. If this is a public school paid for by taxpayers it cannot kowtow to any agenda bought and paid for by any one person or group. If it’s a private school, then that’s a different matter.

  2. Kelly Ferreira   April 29, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    Thank you Ben Carson, Mrs. Calabrese, and Bonsall West Elementary School for providing the wonderful Reading Room for the students. So often, in the corporate push for a “21st education” real books do not make the cut and are being replaced with digital-only books. Kids should be allowed to enjoy reading a real book with beautiful illustrations. Thanks again!

  3. oldtimer   May 1, 2016 at 12:59 pm


    I agree with you on both of your points. Branding a library (calling it reading room is a silly exercise in obfuscation) is inappropriate. Branding it with a politician’s name is doubly so. Giving grants to public schools works ONLY if that grant is not purchasing naming rights and if the use of that grant is administered by school officials. Who determines which books are in the library? Besides naming rights, were there any other concessions given?

    How would the community react if it were the Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump or Ted Cruz or David Duke or David Koch “reading room”? That’s different, you say. How? All have run for office. There is subtle and not so subtle political influence in spheres where it doesn’t belong already. Our schools should be protected from that. How much money was given? Were books also donated? If so, whose choice of titles? Was the community approached with the idea of funding what should be a taxpayer responsibility? Has the school board been approached, or did they approve of this obscenity? I have no children in elementary school but I would have worked for a library.

    The military theme is also inappropriate. I am not anti-military. Far from it. The majority of members of my family for tour generations have served or are serving. Those still living agree with me. They serve proudly but look at the “decor” as indoctrination not suitable for either young children or a library. I was horrified and disgusted. If the donor wanted to honor the military, how about making a gift to disabled veterans or even volunteering at a military hospital?

    Education of children is critical to our society. But it should not be a tool for propaganda of ANY sort.

  4. D   May 3, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    I don’t understand why everyone is upset over the military themed library. It’s obvious to me that children’s books and Apache helicopters are very complimentary of one another. *sarcasm*

    I mean seriously, who in their right mind would ever think that having a military themed children’s library is a good idea.

    Serious question here. Can I make it so that my kid isn’t allowed to go in to this room, is there some not allowed to enter list??

  5. MG   May 4, 2016 at 10:27 am

    Thank you Ben Carson, John Kendall, Bonsall West, Principal Calabrese. It is good to see reading is still a valued principle. Too many children now have expectations set forth by the electronic devices they carry. Nothing can take the place of a good book, and a great environment to read it in. Anyone who wants to bring politics into this, needs to pick up a good book and settle down. This is reading room is about our children, not a particular candidate for office!

  6. grunt   May 4, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    @D, surely you would not deny your child this room because he will see pictures of military equipment? Most young boys love to see helicopters, tanks and military stuff, just as almost all 5 year olds “will be a fire fighter” when he grows up. You must blind fold this poor kid in fallbrook as the MV-22, AH1 and Ch52 fly over head.

    • D   May 9, 2016 at 11:56 am

      Who ever said I have a boy?

      If you want to put pics of dump trucks, loaders, fire engines, heck even police cars, etc. fine.

      It’s also much more than the pictures. Our kids are supposed to sit against camo and sand bags that mimics like they’re in the trenches?

      If you can’t see the difference between that and being flown over by things then I can see why you’re in support of it.

  7. K-BGressitt   May 4, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    Where are the girls?

  8. oldtimer   May 4, 2016 at 6:50 pm


    Young boys are not the only ones who will use the room. As K-BGressitt commented above, where are the girls? They might not be thrilled to sit in a couch that resembles the front of a USMC Jeep. And what about young boys and girls who are not interested in war or whose families are pacifists? There’s a difference between children playing games and having a military theme pushed as part of the education experience. The public schools are supposed to be for ALL children. Seeing helicopters overhead and sitting in a room surrounded by war symbols in order to read are not comparable experiences. As I said above, I am from a military family- whose members find this inappropriate to say the least.

    Where was common sense when this was approved?

  9. grunt   May 10, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    oldtimer – I suspect that military decorations are not the only ones there – but with the SECNAV ignoring the Commandant of Marines, and the SECDEF forcing women into the infantry, maybe the girls like that stuff too?


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