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Preschoolers ‘read for the record’

PreK Kindergarten Center principal Bonnie Jones reads to students.A pajama party during school hours? What could be better? Getting to hear a great story like Llama, Llama, Red Pajama and have a snack, that’s what.

Pre-K children came to school October 6 wearing their PJ’s as part of the Read for the Record campaign to promote literacy and the importance of reading as well as help solve America’s early education achievement gap.

Each year a book is designated in each state  and school board members, city officials, community leaders, legislators and families pledge to sit down and read to children.

Superintendent Sherrie Raulerson uses a puppet to capture kid's attention before reading.The event grew out of a joint effort between the early education advocate group Jumpstart and the Pearson Foundation. Though first observed only in this country, the event has gone global since its inception in 2006.

Today, each Read for the Record event strives to break the previous year’s record of the number of people reading the same book simultaneously.

Pre-K teacher Jackie Schatz invited school principal Bonnie Jones to be her class’ guest reader. Ms. Jones showed up in her own pair of red flannel pajamas with a copy of Llama, Llama, Red Pajama by Ann Dewdney, the official book chosen for the 2011 reading event.

The kids all seemed to identify with the baby llama character, who becomes frightened when the light is turned out after he’s tucked in for bed. After a rocky start, his many fears soon turn into comfort when mama llama finally convinces him there is nothing to be afraid of, even in the dark.

“Remember,” she tells him, “Momma is always near, even if she’s not right here.”

After the story, each child got a Jello cup to snack on.

The array of fashionable PJs worn by the kids featured images of Minnie Mouse, Tinkerbell, Disney Cars, Mud Trucks, Star Wars and the Florida Gators, to name a few.

Meanwhile, down the hall in Kelly Yeager’s class, schools Superintendent Sherrie Raulerson was sharing a story as well, with the help of a puppet.

Her story, titled David Gets Into Trouble, elicited some riotous laughter from her captive audience.

This compelling tale won a Caldecott medal for distinguished children’s book illustration. It tells the story of young David who gets into all sorts of trouble throughout the day at home and at school, never admitting to his part in any of it. He loses his homework, breaks a window, says a bad word, even forgets to put his pants on before leaving the house and loudly denies it all.

Finally, at bedtime, he admits to his mistakes and falls asleep without any guilt.

Other books the Pre-K children read in previous Read for the Record events include The Very Hungry Caterpiller, The Little Engine That Could and The Story of Ferdinand the Bull.

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