Lots of people have read Don Freeman’s book Corduroy. But on Oct. 2, a national event sponsored by Jumpstart for Children Inc. sought to set a record for the number of people reading it on the same day.
UConn’s Office of Community Outreach and Department of Human Development and Family Studies participated in “Read for the Record,” hosted by UConn’s Jumpstart program. Jumpstart for Children Inc. is a national early education organization working to ensure that every child in America enters school prepared to succeed.
The event aimed to raise awareness about early childhood literacy issues by having more than 258,000 people read the book Corduroy, to beat last year’s Guinness Book of World Records tally for the most people reading the same book on the same day.
This year’s selection, Corduroy, tells the story of a teddy bear purchased by a little girl named Lisa, who visits the toy store where he lives. Originally published by Viking Press in 1968, the book has been produced in a special edition by Jumpstart partner the Pearson Foundation
Readers at UConn on Oct. 2 included not only UConn students, faculty, and staff, but also Rep. Joe Courtney (D-2nd District), University President Michael J. Hogan, and members of the Connecticut Early Childhood Cabinet.
“I’m very impressed with the national Jumpstart effort, and gratified that our Community Outreach office and other members of the UConn family are involved in it,” said Hogan.
The main goals for this event were to highlight the importance of early childhood literacy and to let people know about the Jumpstart program, said Meg Marshall, Jumpstart site manager. Since the program was launched at UConn last year, volunteers have provided one-on-one assistance to children at local pre-schools.
Jumpstart was launched in 1993 at Yale University with three main goals: achieving school success for low income children; involving children’s families in school; and training future teachers. The organization has grown into a national program serving more than 15,000 children through a network of partnerships with colleges and universities.
“A majority of UConn’s volunteers have an interest in being educators in the future,” Marshall said. “They have a love for children, and an interest in community service.”