We’ll have to wait a little longer to find out if they accomplished their goal, as organizers are still tallying the number of readers across the country. But the locals certainly did their part.
Leafing through “The Snowy Day,” by Erza Jack Keats, more than 4,000 children in Irvine’s classrooms, homes and parks participated in the Oct. 7 event, topping last year’s hometown total of 3,100. Guest readers in kindergarten and first-grade classrooms included IUSD Board of Education members Mike Parham, Dr. Gavin Huntley-Fenner and Sharon Wallin; Assistant Superintendent Cassie Parham; and Irvine Police Chief David Maggard. (Mike Parham is pictured above with students from Deerfield Elementary.)
Jumpstart picks a new book each year for its Read for the Record campaign, which was launched in 2006 to promote literacy and early education. This was the third straight year that the local nonprofit Team Kids and the Irvine Unified Council PTA took part, collaborating with IUSD, the City of Irvine and the Irvine Police Department to highlight the importance of reading at a young age.
In addition, a kid-driven book drive held on the same day netted 7,700 gently-used children’s books, which will be donated to families through the Orange County Early Literacy Program. Organizers say that represents a 75 percent increase over last year’s haul.
“Read for the Record is such a great service-learning project,” said IUSD Superintendent Gwen Gross. “The reading events and the book drive help everyone understand how critical reading is for young learners.”