THINK Together and Children and Families Commission Hope to Set a New Reading Record at October 4th Event to Promote Early Literacy

Jumpstart’s annual Read for the Record event will highlight the need for early education as adults read to thousands of children throughout Orange County

SANTA ANA, Calif., September 27, 2012  – THINK Together and the Children and Families Commission of Orange County are aiming for another record-breaking performance during Jumpstart’s annual Read for the Record event on Thursday, Oct. 4, which spreads the gift of reading to America’s youngest children.

Read for the Record highlights the need for high-quality, early education in America by mobilizing adults and children to set a record for the largest, shared reading experience. The book that will be read for the record this year is “Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad,”by David Soman and Jacky Davis.

THINK Together manages the Commission’s Early Literacy Program, and in 2011, some 20,000 preschool-aged children were read to. Those children were part of the record-setting 40,100 children who were read “Llama, Llama Red Pajama,” in Orange County and nearly 2.2 million nationwide that day.

“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.”

Randy Barth, CEO and Founder of THINK Together, said he welcomes events like Jumpstart’s Read for the Record that highlight how important reading and literacy is to young children.

“Fewer than half of low-income students have access to quality early childhood education,” Barth said.  “One in three children enter kindergarten lacking basic pre-reading and math skills, which are key factors in determining high school graduation and lifelong success. At THINK Together, we strive to make sure young children have those basic skills they need.”

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 will take place at every school district in the county. The Early Literacy Program staff and volunteers will be doing their part by reading books at multiple locations, including several learning centers and clinics. Further, The Early Literacy Program is bringing volunteers and 300 books to the Children’s Hospital of Orange County to be read to children that day.

In addition, there will be three special events taking place on Oct. 4 at the MainPlace Mall in Santa Ana, the Barnes and Noble bookstore at Metro Pointe in Costa Mesa and at Pretend City in Irvine.

At the MainPlace Mall, reading events will begin at 10 a.m. and last through 8 p.m. Curious George and Lady Bug girl will be there to entertain the crowds from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Curious George will make appearances on the stage at 4 and 5 p.m. The first 100 kids in attendance at those times will receive 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 will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. Costa Mesa firefighters will be reading to children from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and from 6:30 to 7 p.m.

A book fair will also take place at that location. Beginning Oct. 4 and through Oct. 12 when a customer mentions THINK Together, 10% of the sale proceeds will go toward funding early literacy programs.

Finally, at Pretend City in Irvine, Lady Bug Girl will be there to entertain the children and their parents. The event will begin at 10 a.m. and run through 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.

LOCATIONS

PRETEND CITY
20 Hubble
Irvine 92615
10 a.m to 3 p.m.

Meet the Ladybug Girl!
WESTFIELD MAINPLACE MALL
2800 N. Main Street
Santa Ana 92706
10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Meet the Ladybug Girl and Curious George!
4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
BARNES & NOBLE
Metro Pointe
901 B South Coast Drive
Costa Mesa 92626
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

About THINK Together
THINK Together is one of the leading and largest nonprofit providers of academic support programs (early literacy, after-school, small group tutoring, summer learning, etc.) in the U.S., serving more than 100,000 students at more than 420 locations across 35 school districts and more than 30 cities across a five-county footprint of Southern California (Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego) plus greater Sacramento. Partnering with school administrators and teachers, its academically oriented programs and dedicated team of 2,500 employees are helping students close the achievement gap. THINK is an acronym: Teaching, Helping, Inspiring & Nurturing Kids. For more information, call (888) 485-THINK or visit www.THINKtogether.org or www.facebook.com/THINKtogether.

About the Children and Families Commission of Orange County
The Children and Families Commission of Orange County oversees the allocation of funds from Proposition 10, which added a 50-cent tax on tobacco products sold in California. Almost $47 million was allocated last year to fund 170 programs that served more than 165,800 young children.  Funds help pay for early education, pediatric primary and specialty health care, children’s dental, homeless prevention, and child development programs for children from the prenatal stage to age 5 and their families. The Commission’s goal is to ensure all children are healthy and ready to learn when they enter school.  For more information, please visit www.occhildrenandfamilies.com.

About PBS SoCaL
PBS SoCaL, formerly KOCE-TV, is Southern California’s PBS station dedicated to interactively educating, entertaining, and enlightening the greater Los Angeles area.  With its three unique broadcast channels, including PBS SoCaL HD, PBS OC and WORLD TV, PBS SoCaL provides award-winning programs like Frontline, NewsHour, NOVA, Nature, and Masterpiece, as well as local productions Real Orange, SoCaL Insider with Rick Reiff, and Bookmark with Maria Hall-Brown.  Through community outreach initiatives including PBS SoCaL Education, PBS SoCaL provides local schools access to new media materials that engage students in 21st century learning.  Explore the future of PBS in Southern California at our revamped website, www.pbssocal.org.