Undergraduate Academic Affairs
September 15, 2009
By Kirsten Atik
Early literacy organization looking to break world reading record
Join squeals of preschool delight, help prepare preschool children for school, and raise awareness about the importance of early literacy with Jumpstart’s fourth annual Read for the Record event.
Read for the Record aims to break the world record of the largest shared reading experience by encouraging hundreds of thousands of children and adults to read the same book on the same day. Last year, Jumpstart sites nationwide set a Guinness World Record with 688,781 people reading the same book on the same day. This year, Jumpstart’s goal is to break their own record by having 1,000,000 children devour The Very Hungry Caterpillar on October 8, 2009. Each preschooler “reading for the record” with a Jumpstart site will also receive their own copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar to continue reading at home.
“Bringing the excitement of reading to children is the best part of Read for the Record,” says UW Jumpstart senior site manager Ruby Linsao. “The children love being read to and having outside volunteers come onboard is another way for us to show people the importance of early literacy. It is one of the key ingredients for kids to be ready for kindergarten.”
Read for the Record is also a sort of kick off for Jumpstart at the UW. To help local children prepare for kindergarten, 90 UW undergraduates will volunteer in preschools around Seattle to help over 250 children build their language, literacy, and social skills necessary for later academic and life success.
For Read for the Record, the UW Jumpstart site will connect volunteers with partner preschool classrooms in Beacon Hill, the Central District, Columbia City, and Capitol Hill. Volunteers will read to the children, facilitate activities, and deliver Read for the Record books to classrooms. Costco has committed volunteers and $500 toward books.
Nationally, one-third of children in the US arrive at their first day of school developmentally behind their peers and without the skills necessary to succeed at grade level. When children begin behind their peers, catching up, especially without additional assistance, is difficult and unlikely.
In Seattle, nearly 5,000 families with children under 5 are living in poverty (US Census 2005). Without early intervention, more than 80% of these young children will enter kindergarten without the skills necessary to learn (Child Trends Data Bank 2003). Jumpstart is working to close the achievement gap for these children by targeting them at a time when intervention is most effective. Studies have shown that for every $1 invested in early education $13 is saved in future costs from remedial schooling, welfare dependency, and incarceration (The Economic Impacts of Child Care and Early Education 2004). Providing yound children with equal opportunities for success requires a comprehensive appraoch that unites families, schools and communities to support early learning (National Center for Children in Poverty, 2006). This is the approach Jumpstart takes in addressing this issue.
There are multiple ways to get involved in Read for the Record and help prepare children for kindergarten:
- Volunteer to Read for the Record with Jumpstart preschool children in Seattle: Jumpstart is looking for volunteers to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar with 3-5 year old children in Jumpstart’s partner preschools throughout Seattle. Morning and afternoon volunteer shifts are available. To learn more about being a volunteer reader on October 8, contact Ruby Linsao at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-616-2964.
- Support Jumpstart at the University of Washington by making a book donation on the online book drive: Help us bring the magic of reading to a preschool child in our community by making a donation to Jumpstart at the University of Washington’s Virtual Book Drive team. For every $10 you donate today, our site will receive $3 and one copy of this year’s campaign book to distribute to low-income preschool children in Seattle. Learn more about how you can support the work that UW undergraduate students are doing with Jumpstart preschool children in our community.
- Host your own event. For parents and individuals wanting to host their own Read for the Record events, toolkits are available at www.readfortherecord.org.
Part of a leading national nonprofit organization, Jumpstart at the University of Washington connects UW undergraduates with low-income Seattle preschoolers to help these children build the language, literacy, and social skills necessary for later academic and life success. Jumpstart at the UW is housed in Undergraduate Academic Affairs’ Center for Experiential Learning.