Stories for the Record Books

by Amy Shea

Amy Shea is Jumpstart’s former Manager of Campaigns and Events.

“The children used their imagination as they created their own stories about the animals in our 3D farm. They enjoyed reciting the ‘putt, puff, putted, chuff’ in unison whenever in came up in the story.”
Cheryl Walden, Springfield Elementary School, Charleston, SC

On October 3, 2013 millions of people did more than just read for the record. With Otis as inspiration, many went beyond the pages of the story and created their own. Presented in partnership with the Pearson Foundation, Jumpstart’s Read for the Record® reminds our nation of Jumpstart’s important mission, inspiring memorable stories along the way. Each year, the campaign comes alive thanks to countless reading events in schools, libraries, offices, and homes across the country. There were celebrations with tractors, firemen and trucks, petting zoos, and other farm themes. Otis and his friends truly jumped right off the pages.

Learn what a few of our supporters had to say about their Read for the Record celebrations:

Rhonda M. Patton

NAEP State Coordinator (National Assessment of Educational Progress), Montgomery, AL

“Being a part of Read for the Record had a whole different meaning this year because my son is in kindergarten. He was born in August 2008 and I have collected the Read for the Record book each year of his life, and the beauty of it? He is five and can read all of them. Our goal as his parents is to collect the Read for the Record book each year and once he becomes an adult he can read those same stories to his children as his Mom and Dad did for him.

As I was reading to his class today, he came up to assist me with reading to his classmates. This was a very magical moment that I will not forget. He has been reading since he was three years old and I truly believe Read for the Record stories had a lot to do with his success.”

Meggin Handrigran

Teacher and Jumpstart alumna, Tiverton, RI

“This year, I decided that I had to do Read for the Record in my classroom. I have 22 students with Military and Department of Defense backgrounds, aged 3-5, speaking eight different languages: English, Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic, Romanian, Ukrainian, Korean, and Mandarin. Over half of my children are ESL learners, and a quarter of them have speech or learning delays. Despite these differences, I have discovered that all of my children love to be read to.

On Thursday, I invited all of my students’ families to join us for lunch in our classroom, and we read Otis together as we shared a meal. Even if the children didn’t understand English, they loved the story of Otis and his calf. The families and parents really enjoyed it as well. After lunch, in our pajamas, the parents tucked their children in on their cots, read their favorite books to them in their native language, and settled in for a nap. I do wish you to know that we had a wonderful time, and I owe it all to Jumpstart.”

Denise Sellers

Haddonfield Child Care, Haddonfield, NJ

“We read Otis, adding our 19 children to the millions of others who enjoyed this sweet story of the friendship between an old farm tractor and a baby calf in thousands of homes and schools today.

The book was one part of our larger farm theme which incorporated math, science, and other curricular areas. We discussed the story of the poor, little calf sinking in the mud as a starting point for such broad ranging conversations as how we form and nurture friendships, and how and why things sink or float. We made our own mini books about farms, and we played counting games. The kids loved it all!”


We love hearing from our dedicated supporters about how they celebrated Jumpstart’s Read for the Record. It was a day to read and create a tale of your own. Want to add to the story? Let us know how you celebrated and be sure to be counted for it!

We thank you for your support of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record and for helping shine a spotlight on the importance of early literacy and Jumpstart’s mission: to work toward the day every child in America enters kindergarten prepared to succeed.

Together, we can help all children build the key language and literacy skills they need to take on the world.

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