By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – Many local children were among the more than two million around the world who recently participated in the “Read for the Record” program. They listened and laughed at “Llama Llama Red Pajama” by Anne Dewdney – as they all read the same book, on the same day – in Jumpstart's annual campaign for preschoolers. In many towns and cities, the reading events are hosted by governors, mayors, businesses and other organizations.
Preschool Director Rebecca Zieminski of the Marlborough Early Childhood Center (MECC) is a reading proponent.
“Our goal at the MECC is to provide rich language experiences for our students by offering lots and lots of opportunities to enjoy books,” Zieminski said. “Llama Llama was an especially fun book to read as it was especially geared to preschool children. They could really relate to how the main character was feeling. They were engaged and excited about hearing the story and loved acting out parts of it. I loved seeing their reactions while reading the story to them.”
After the reading, each child was given a special badge that said, “I set a World Record,” with a red or blue star showing their participation in the program.
Communications Liaison for the Marlborough Public Schools Beth Wagner is a fan of the program.
“The Read for the Record activity complements the MECC's “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten,”” Wagner said. “This pre-literacy effort, aimed at encouraging families to read at least 1,000 books to their preschoolers before they enter kindergarten, is in its second year at the MECC.”
Each child takes a book bag of 10 books home to read with the family. They continue to read and check out new book bags until they have read 1,000 different ones, according to Zieminski.
“This program provides equal access to hundreds of different titles for all of our students and it brings high quality literature and a wide variety of genres to them,” she said.
A dedicated parent, Kelly Skoog, volunteers in the MECC Book Room organizing and preparing bags of books for the students.
Jumpstart was founded in 1993 at Yale University and has been helping preschool children get the help they need to be successful in life. In 2006, the organization launched the first Read for the Record campaign with Pearson Foundation, a founding partner. While focusing on America's early education achievement gap, children became familiar with classic stories, “The Little Engine That Could,” “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and others.
The MECC is located in the center of Marlborough in the District Education Center on Washington Street. Approximately 190 students between the ages of 3 and 5 are enrolled in the comprehensive child-centered integrated preschool program. The MECC, which is affiliated with the “Together We Can” Community Partnership for Children and the Assabet Valley Area Family Network, also provides a full array of therapies and special education services.