P.S.-Pooh Says...

"What day is it? - 'It's today' - squeaked Piglet. 'My favourite day' - said Pooh."- A.A. Milne

07 September 2009

Ready to Read-Jumpstart Opens the Pages

Back to School, Back to Books! I admit I miss this time of year when new boxes of crayons and fresh unopened books await on a clean desk. I have been known to stroll the aisles of Staples and pick up a cute folder or a fresh box of Crayolas just because it is September. I also find myself in the picture book section of the bookstore, lovingly flipping through copies of my favorites...Pooh of course is always in the pile.

I don't think there is anything more wonderful in my childhood memories than someone reading to me. My lifetime love for books and reading grew from those very special hours. Reading to a child is such a simple act, yet there is nothing that brings more joy or value to a child's educational development than reading to them. Books open worlds for kids, especially kids who don't have access to wide educational opportunities.

This is why I am such a fan of Jumpstart, a wonderful mentoring program partnering preschool children and college students and community volunteers to build reading and educational skills through one on one mentoring. The goal of Jumpstart is that every child entering school will be fully prepared to succeed and will also become lifetime readers.

Jumpstart shares that children from low-income communities typically enter kindergarten with one fourth the vocabulary of their middle-income peers. The importance of early learning cannot be overstated and so many kids do not get that "Jumpstart". A child’s reading level in 1st grade is one of the best predictors of his/her future performance in 10th grade and without that early involvement kids will be constantly playing catch up and may just fall behind or simply drop out.

Jumpstart began in 1993,and since then more than 70,000 preschool children across America have benefited from millions of hours of Jumpstart mentoring. This year, Jumpstart volunteers will share more than one million hours with 15,000 preschool children in 80 communities across America.

On October 8, Jumpstart's 4th Annual Literacy initiative National Read for the Record Day, considered the world's largest reading event, celebrates the joy of reading. Read for the Record Day is a very simple idea-a worldwide effort to read the same book on the same day to pre school children...last year 700,000 readers read Corduroy all over the globe in classrooms, libraries and I would guess by bedsides too. This year the goal is one million readers and Jumpstart has released a special edition of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle in celebration of the classic picture book's 40th anniversary.

This version comes with instructions on how to encourage literacy and create readers. Visit Read for the Record to sign up, get involved and download the tool kit. Get your copy to read along at a local school or community group or at home or donate a copy to a family or community in need or make a $50 donation which will provide a library of 20 books to a preschool.

You can also join or create a Virtual Book Drive with the goal of 250,000 books donated to low income families and communities . For every $10 raised Jumpstart will donate a book to a child in need.

No greater gift to give a child, or yourself, than to share a new book and the joy of reading!