February 17, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Read for the Record with Loren Long and ‘Otis’

Otis read for the recordRead for the Record Day is coming up on October 3, and children all over the country will be celebrating, including my students at Van Meter Community School in Iowa. In fact, it’s one of my students’ favorite days of the year. The event, presented by Jumpstart in partnership with the Pearson Foundation, began in 2006; since its inception, millions of students have pledged to read the official Read for the Record book on the same day. This year’s selection is Loren Long’s Otis (Philomel, 2009).

We Give Books, a free digital reading initiative created by Penguin and the Pearson Foundation, will be providing Otis online for free in both English and Spanish, so that everyone who wishes to participate in the event can have access to the selected title. I like sharing the link with our families and friends.

In addition, author/illustrator Long has agreed to participate in a Google+ Hangout with five lucky schools, which will be a wonderful opportunity for the author to connect directly with students in celebration of this pro-literacy event. For a chance to win an invite to read Otis with Long, a school must pledge (now through September 25) to Read for the Record.

And if your students have a question for Long, they can submit it during the hangout via Facebook or Twitter (#ImwithOtis). The winning classrooms will be notified by September 27.

At Van Meter, we will be reading and sharing the 2013 pick, a sweet and beautifully illustrated book of friendship, which is a special favorite at my school and in my own home. Having grown up on a farm in eastern Iowa, I am especially drawn to the characters and setting.

Our school community is planning to gather together to read Otis and celebrate reading with one another. We have also invited a few very special guests to connect with us virtually throughout the day. The kids love it when authors, illustrators, and other schools celebrate these special events with us. We read, write, create, and collaborate on projects that connect with the theme of the book and author.

In 2012, 2.3 million kids participated in Read for the Record Day. Will we beat that this year? Take the pledge and give your students an experience that they will always remember.

Shannon McClintock Miller is a district teacher librarian at Van Meter Community School in Van Meter, Iowa. She’s blogs at the award-winning Van Meter Library Voice.