'Read for the Record Day' at North Philly school brings awareness to childhood literacy

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Jumpstart Philadelphia, a nonprofit organization focused on early childhood education, held "Read for the Record Day" on Thursday, a program where pre-kindergarten students get extra story time as a way to promote childhood literacy. 

Nearly two dozen pre-schoolers sat spellbound in the library of the Gesu School in North Philadelphia for an extra dose of story time, this time by celebrity readers, for the program's 15th year at Gesu.

"It really helps our young students enjoy the love of reading," said Alana Lee, vice-principal of the Gesu School, who spoke of their years-long partnership with Jumpstart Philadelphia. The program brings in Temple student volunteers who read to preschoolers for a total of 11 hours in a week. 

"The Jumpstart program works with schools in under-resourced communities to provide preschool children with language literacy and social and emotion skills," explained Emily Garcia, senior site manager of Jumpstart Philadelphia at Temple University.

Had a ball today being a #celebrityreader at @gesucatholicschool . Literacy is so important. #ReadfortheRecord day is just one part of it. Thanks @jumpstartphilly for having me! #prek #childhoodliteracy #readby4th #libraries #books #ilovemyjob @kywnewsradio

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Garcia said Read for the Record Day is part of their effort to promote literacy, where adults are reading to kids across the nation.

"To break the record for the most children read with on the same day," she added.

4-year-old Emory listened to author Oge Mora's book "Thank You, Omu!" and said it makes him happy when someone reads to him.

Studies show reading one book a day to kids will expose them to nearly 300,000 words by age five.