THINK Together and Children and Families Commission Team Up Again to Set the Reading Record in Orange County

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Jumpstart’s annual Read for the Record event will get an extra day on Sept. 28 to highlight the need for early literacy as adults read during the Festival of Children event.

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Reading to children early and often has so many benefits that its importance can’t be overstated.

THINK Together and the Children and Families Commission of Orange County are looking to top last year’s record-breaking performance during Jumpstart’s annual Read for the Record event, which for the first time will take place during the Festival of Children at South Coast Plaza.

Read for the Record highlights the need for high-quality, early literacy 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 “Otis,” by Loren Long.

In addition to its signature Oct. 3 event, Jumpstart approved a special Read for the Record event to take place Saturday Sept. 28 during the Festival of Children event at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. The Read for the Record event will take place from 12 noon until 4 p.m. near the Carousel, where there will be a special appearance by the Cat in the Hat, sponsored by PBS SoCal. Every hour, the first 100 children to attend the event will receive a free copy of “Otis.”
The Festival of Children is a Costa Mesa-based charity supporting more than 500 children nonprofits in 50 states. This year is the 10th anniversary of the charity, which holds a month-long festival each year at South Coast Plaza.

THINK Together manages the Early Literacy and Math Program for the Children and Families Commission. In partnership with the commission, more than 29,761 children were read “Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad,” by David Soman and Jacky Davis in Orange County in 2012. More than 2.3 million children and adults participated in Read for the Record nationwide last year.

“Reading to children early and often has so many benefits that its importance can’t be overstated,” said Michael Riley, Ph.D. 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.”

Also taking part at the Festival of Children event is PBS SoCal. In addition to bringing along the Cat in the Hat character, the public television station will bring along its Mobile Labs, which help children access mobile technology.

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 nine million children, raised more than $8 million for early education and donated more than 1.2 million books for children in low-income neighborhoods.

Jumpstart’s Read for the Record signature event will take place Oct. 3 at every school district in the county. The Early Literacy and Math Program staff and volunteers will be doing their part by reading books at multiple locations, including Pretend City in Irvine and several learning centers and clinics. Further, The Early Literacy and Math Program is bringing volunteers and 250 books to Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) to be read to children that day.

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.

READ FOR THE RECORD
FESTIVAL OF CHILDREN/SOUTH COAST PLAZA
3333 Bristol Street
Costa Mesa
12 noon to 4 p.m.
Meet the Cat in the Hat

About THINK Together
THINK Together is a nonprofit education organization that partners with schools and school districts to support systems, mostly for low-income students, in order to close the achievement gap. THINK Together is the state’s largest provider of Extended Learning Time programs, (early literacy, after-school, summer learning, etc.) in the U.S., serving more than 100,000 students at more than 442 locations across 41 school districts from San Diego to Sacramento. Partnering with school administrators and teachers, its academically oriented programs and dedicated team of 3,000 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 http://www.THINKtogether.org or http://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 $29 million was allocated last year to fund 161 programs that served more than 136,000 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 http://www.occhildrenandfamilies.com.

About the Festival of Children Foundation
Festival of Children Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization that serves to bring together and coordinate the efforts of charities, companies and individuals who actively work to improve the lives of children. Festival of Children Foundation gives a voice, guidance and support. 100% of the administrative costs are covered by designated funding, allowing donations to go further in direct support of programs and services that improve the lives of children. For more information, please visit http://www.festivalofchildren.org.

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, http://www.pbssocal.org.

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Kathleen Sanchez
THINK Together
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