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Millions Participate in Nonprofit's Annual Daylong Reading Campaign

Did you read Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad by David Soman and Jacky Davis last Thursday?

If so, you were among millions of kids and adults who did, including 20,000 students in Florida's Broward County—that's every kid in the school district's kindergarten and prekindergarten classes—as part of Jumpstart's nationwide campaign to promote reading.

The Boston-based organization, a national early-education nonprofit that recruits and trains college students to work with low-income kids, sponsors an annual Read for the Record campaign with the Pearson Foundation. The goal is to set a world record for the number of people reading the same book on a given day as a way to raise awareness of the importance of early-childhood education, according to Jumpstart, which says 2.2 million people participated in its 2011 Read for the Record event.

This year's event, the seventh consecutive campaign, was held last Thursday and featured the book by Soman and Davis. An estimated 2.5 million people were expected to participate and Jumpstart hosted about 250 events nationwide. School districts participated across the country, with local and municipal officials getting involved as well. Participants also were able to read the book online.

Mayor Angel Taveras of Providence, R.I., joined other local leaders in participating. He read the book, including a Spanish version, to kindergartners at a city elementary school and then distributed library-card applications and copies of his own book, How to Do Well in School, according to a news release from his office.

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