In The Classroom:

All for one and one for all

‘Caterpillar’ takes center stage as children read the same book with school celebrity appearances.

October 12, 2009|By Candice Baker

For the record, local preschoolers rock at reading.

They joined an estimated 1 million children around the country in reading “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle on Thursday, in hopes of achieving a world record.

The national Read for the Record campaign, launched by Jumpstart and the Pearson Foundation, is now in its fourth year.

It seeks to help kids develop the joy of reading with an annual communal experience.

Each fall, children and adults read the same book nationwide. Nearly 750,000 people read “Corduroy” during last year’s read-a-thon.

All preschools in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District participated, with “celebrity” district guests on hand to read to the kids.

The children sat on colorful carpets for their “Caterpillar” experiences.


At Rea Preschool in Costa Mesa, the kids were joined by district Supt. Jeffrey Hubbard and Costa Mesa Senior police Officer Jess Gilman, who works with several of the district’s primary schools.

Hubbard said he always enjoys getting out of his office and seeing the district’s kids. The preschoolers, likewise, seemed thrilled to have Hubbard in their classes. After following his reading intently, they gave him hugs and cheered.

In the classroom next door, Gilman perched his 6-foot-tall-plus frame onto a tiny preschool chair.

His motive: to get on the same level as the kids. He said he tries to get into classrooms frequently for non-public-safety-related events, in order to establish a rapport with kids. He hopes this will give them a positive impression of authority figures as they grow up.

For their time, Gilman and Hubbard were treated with fist-bumps, sweet gifts and a chorus of thank-yous.

Other preschool classrooms in the district were visited by district board members, firefighters and other officials.

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