THINK Together and Children and Families Commission set a new reading record on Oct. 4 promoting early literacy
The numbers are in and THINK Together and the Children and Families Commission of Orange County can now celebrate another record-breaking performance at Jumpstart’s annual Read for the Record earlier this month.
This year a total of 21,214 children ages 0-5 were read to in Orange County, which surpassed last year’s record by several hundred kids.
“Through the dedication of our staff, volunteers, and guest readers, we embraced and shared Jumpstart’s mission in advocating the need for high-quality, early childhood education,” said THINK Together Early Learning Program and Data Manager Gloria Martinez.
Read for the Record is a nationwide event that mobilizes adults and children to set a record for the largest, shared reading experience. The book that was read for the record this year was “Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad,” by David Soman and Jacky Davis.
“Reading to children early and often has so many benefits that its importance can’t be overstated,” said Sandra Barry, chair of the Children and Families Commission of Orange County. “It ignites children’s imagination and curiosity, and opens doors to fun and exciting new worlds. Most important, instilling the love of reading in children at a very young age builds a solid foundation for learning, and helps ensure they enter school ready and eager to learn.”
The Jumpstart early education program began the Read for the Record campaign in 2006, successfully shining a national spotlight on America’s achievement gap. Since its inception, the campaign has engaged seven million children, raised more than $7 million for early education and donated more than one million books for children in low-income neighborhoods.
Jumpstart’s Read for the Record events this year took place at every school district in the county. THINK Together manages the Children and Families Commission’s Early Literacy and Math Program. This year, the Early Literacy and Math staffers and volunteers read books at multiple locations, including several learning centers and clinics.
At the MainPlace Mall, reading events started at 10 a.m. and lasted till 8 p.m. Elizabeth Swift, Buena Park Mayor Pro-Tem, was a guest reader as well as Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Dave Elliott. They both had a great time reading to several groups of children.
Santa Ana Police were also present to show their support for early literacy as guest readers.
Curious George and Ladybug girl were there to entertain the crowds. Curious George made a few appearances on the stage, which made the children and adults in attendance very happy.
Chivas USA, Paris Deras, and ChivaFighter also showed up to support THINK Together’s read for the record event. Families were excited to see players from their favorite soccer team. They had fun taking pictures with the soccer players and Chivas’ mascot.
The first 100 kids in attendance at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. received two free books, “Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad,” and “Curious George at the Baseball Game,” donated by PBS SoCaL and the Angels Foundation. PBS SoCal also coordinated the appearance of Curious George.
“PBS SoCaL is proud to be a part of Read for the Record to promote literacy for all children,” said Alyssa Torrez, Education Coordinator at PBS SoCaL.
At the Barnes and Noble at Metro Pointe in Costa Mesa, the Read for the Record event ran from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. Costa Mesa firefighters read to children from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and from 6:30 to 7 p.m.
Daily Pilot Editor John Canalis attended the Barnes and Noble event as well as OC Register writer Barbara Venezia. Former Costa Mesa councilwoman and current Newport-Mesa Unified school board member Katrina Foley was also in attendance and had fun being a guest reader.
Finally, at Pretend City in Irvine, Ladybug Girl rallied children and their parents into the reading room to participate in reading for the record. Ladybug Girl, THINK Together CEO and Founder Randy Barth, and Irvine Police read aloud to large groups of children and had fun asking them questions about the book. Brooke Taylor from PIMCO was also present. “PIMCO participated in a book doctor event with THINK Together not too long ago and all the volunteers had such a great time, so when I got the invite I didn’t hesitate to say yes,” said Taylor. The event started at 10 a.m. and lasted until 3 p.m.
The Read for the Record event is just another way that the Children and Families Commission of Orange County and THINK Together are partnering to ensure all Orange County children are healthy and ready to learn when they enter school.