Local volunteers across southwest Minnesota participated in Read for the Record earlier this week. The United Way of Southwest Minnesota locally coordinated Jumpstart’s Read for the Record, again this year. One hundred seventy volunteers read “Quackers” at 20 schools, nine libraries, 11 child care/preschool centers and one radio station in southwest Minnesota on Thursday. Liz Wong’s “Quackers” is a wonderful story about a kitten that grows up believing he’s a duck, until the day he meets another kitten. What follows is a sweet tale about understanding, acceptance and learning it’s OK to be whomever you want to be.

Jumpstart’s Read for the Record is an annual reading celebration that highlights the need for quality early education in America by mobilizing adults and children to set a record for the largest shared reading experience. The goal is to bring attention to the importance of early childhood literacy. Read for the Record inspires adults to read with children, spurs policymakers and organizations to take action towards transformative change in early education, and puts books in the hands of more children across the country. 

The Jump Start organization selects the book each year. The United Way of Southwest Minnesota then sets up the reading location sites, recruits the volunteers, pays for the books/materials, and creates corresponding learning activities that work with the book selected. United Way of Southwest Minnesota then donates a copy of the book to each classroom/location for continued use. United Way of Southwest Minnesota has coordinated this effort locally since 2011.

Schools that participated this year include: Bert Raney (Granite Falls), Canby, Clarkfield Charter, Stevens Elementary (Dawson-Boyd District), Hendricks, Holy Redeemer — Marshall, Lake Benton, Lakeview Elementary (Cottonwood), Lincoln Elementary (Ivanhoe), Lynd, Marshall Park Side, Minneota, Murray County Central (Slayton), RTR (Ruthton), Samuel Lutheran — Marshall, St. Edwards (Minneota), St. Peter’s (Canby), St. Mary’s (Tracy), Tracy Public and Westbrook Walnut Grove.

Libraries that participated are: Canby, Clarkfield, Ivanhoe, Slayton, Tyler, Granite Falls, Marshall-Lyon County, Fulda and Westbrook.

Child care and preschool centers that participated include: Marshall Area Child Care, SMSU Child Care, Lil Diggers Daycare (Lynd), Marshall Head Start, Little Cubs Pre-School (Marshall), RTR Pre-School (Russell), Wee Care Preschool (Marshall), Trinity Preschool (Slayton), Canoga Park Child Care Center (Marshall), Canoga Park West (Marshall) and Wonder World-Slayton.

The book was also read live on air on Marshall Radio by United Way board chair, Michelle Warme.

Thank you to all of the volunteers who contributed their time to make Read for the Record a success in southwest Minnesota.

For more information about your local United Way visit www.UnitedWaySWMN.org. For opportunities to volunteer click the Volunteer Tab on our website.