Elementary education students and young children from the UCF Creative School for Children and Academic Center for Excellence gathered to help set a world reading record last Thursday.
Early literacy organization Jumpstart has been organizing its international campaign Read for the Record for the past 12 years. The event promotes the importance of building early literacy skills through shared reading.
Adults and children from around the world read the same book on the same day. In 2016, more than 2.35 million children and adults participated in Jumpstart’s program.
College of Education and Human Performance associate lecturer Lee-Anne Spalding has been organizing Read for the Record for the past eight years. The event provides education students with an opportunity to interact and assist children with reading in an interdisciplinary setting.
“I want our education students to experience planning events that are exciting, engaging and motivating and really foster a love of learning,” said Spalding. “The students need to understand how to integrate the curriculum where the children can truly comprehend and understand what they’re learning. It’s experiential learning at its best.”
Thanks to PNC Bank’s $25,000 Grow Up Great grant, Spalding can purchase books and lunch and provide children with bus transportation to Read for the Record for the next three years.
More than 180 Pre-K and kindergarten children read this year’s campaign book “Quackers” by Liz Wong, a story about a cat who grows up believing it’s a duck. The book also teaches children about friendship, acceptance of others and diversity.
Besides reading the book, children engaged in learning activities based on the story and characters that integrated math and science skills with literacy. Kids jumped and landed on duck feet while calling out the letter of the alphabet or number, held ducklings and examined worms, duckweed and other things ducks eat in the wild.
Elementary education student Katelynn Lawson felt Read for the Record was beneficial.
“The event promotes children’s literacy and prepares me to work with so many kids who are all different in their own way,” she said. “In a classroom, the teacher is exposed to teaching each child and adapting to their unique needs.”
Another elementary education student was touched and glad she participated in Read for the Record.
“My heart is so full and happy,” said Natasha Vinson. “This wonderful event is a reminder of why I want to be a teacher.”