East Portland tots join in nationwide search for teddy bear’s missing button

What’s all the fuss about a little teddy bear named Corduroy? Discover the message behind this “Read for the Record” effort ….

Enjoying the story of “Corduroy“, as read by youth librarian Sue Ciesielski at Midland Library, are Tristan Hansen, Emma Zallee, Pearl Hilton, and Leah Zallee.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Few of the children gathered at Midland Library on October 2 realized they were part of a nationwide effort to break a world record: The most number of people reading the same book on the same day, an event called “Read for the Record”.

These 34 pre-school tots were instead focused on the pages of Don Freeman’s 1968 picture book entitled “Corduroy” during their morning “Story Time” hosted by youth librarian Sue Ciesielski.

As she turned the pages, the youngsters’ eyes widened as they wondered if the shopworn department store teddy bear, Corduroy, would be able to replace the missing button on his jumper; and thus, consider himself “good enough” to go home with the little girl who earnestly desires him.

As Sue Ciesielski presents the story, few of the children realize they’re part of a nationwide program called “Read for the Record”.

Event focuses attention on pre-readers
“Events such as ‘Read for the Record’ are important,” commented Ciesielski, “because it focuses attention on early literacy – having children become familiar with books, and the concept of reading.”

The term “early literacy”, Ciesielski explained, is helping youngsters learn what they need to know before they actually learn to read.

An organization called “Jumpstart” created the event, and encouraged adults to read Corduroy to youngsters in libraries, schools, and child-care centers around the country to bring attention to the importance of preparing children to read at an early age. The program was made possible here by grants from The Library Foundation and a local firm, Hanna Andersson.

Midland Library – and most of the Multnomah County library branches – hold several “Story Time” events every week to promote early literacy.

Early literacy promoted weekly; year-around
Helping young children develop pre-reading skills isn’t an annual event at Multnomah County libraries.

“Midland Library hosts 11 ‘Story Times’ every week,” explained Ciesielski. “Eight of them are primarily in the English language, but we also have one each in the Vietnamese, Spanish, and Chinese languages.”

By the way, although Corduroy got lost in the big department store while he searched for a btton — he was returned to the toy department in time to be found by the little girl who came back for him the following day, purchased him, and took him home. They were happy together, everafter. We love happy endings!

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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