Posted October 24, 2014

Temple students, administrators and city leaders help break local reading record

Ben Eckert
Temple volunteers read to children in five North Philadelphia-based preschools on Tuesday, Oct. 21.

On Tuesday, Oct. 21, Temple students, administrators and community partners helped break the local record for group reading during Jumpstart’s annual citywide Read for the Record event.

“It was an amazing day,” said Gina Federico, EDU ’13, ’14, associate site director for Jumpstart Philadelphia. “Participants broke the local record for collective reading with more than 2,000 children simultaneously reading  in local preschools.”

Jumpstart is a national literacy program that works to develop key language and literacy skills in children who live in low-income communities. Each year the program encourages preschool children, teachers and community members around the country to participate in Read for the Record, a daylong event designed to foster learning and literacy.

Last year the organization set the first world record for the largest shared reading experience after 2 million children across the nation came together to read the same book on the same day.

Although the national numbers are still being tallied, Philadelphia participants broke the local record for shared reading, said Federico.

On Tuesday morning more than 120 Temple volunteers gathered in Mitten Hall to celebrate the daylong reading event. The Temple volunteers read the popular children’s book Bunny Cakes by bestselling author and illustrator Rosemary Wells to more than 700 children in five North Philadelphia-based preschools.

Pennsylvania State Senator Shirley Kitchen and U.S. Representative Chaka Fattah attended Temple’s event to show support for the program.

Since 1993, Jumpstart has trained 36,000 college students and community volunteers to help improve literacy among 76,000 preschool children nationwide.

“Children from low-income backgrounds are usually behind their more affluent peers by 60 percent when they start school and that gap widens by the time they get to third grade,” said Federico. “Through working closely with students to improve literacy and learning we help children have a better chance at succeeding.”

Not only does the program help children improve their reading and learning abilities, Jumpstart also helps prepare education students for careers in teaching.

“Teachers really enjoy having the extra support in the classroom as they are able to do more when the Jumpstart members are there,” said Christa Rossi, who serves as Temple’s site director for the Jumpstart program.