Birch Holds Annual Read for the Record Event

Each year Birch Family Services celebrates Jumpstart’s Read for the Record event, the world’s largest shared reading experience. Students in all our schools participate while Birch stakeholders read to support children’s early literacy, language, and social-emotional development. This year saw an incredible turnout with many special guests and surprises.  

Read for the Record brought together thousands of children, adolescents, and adults across Birch Family Services to help expand our community through the power of reading. This year’s book was “With Lots of Love” by Jenny Torres Sanchez, a story about a girl who has moved to the United States from her home in Central America. This beautiful and relatable story is about family, finding ways to stay connected, and sharing love across distances.  

“Read for the Record is a day to highlight the need for literacy and vocabulary building in early childhood programs,” said Principal of Pelham Bay Early Childhood Center DeAnna Diamond. “This year’s book speaks about community and accepting change using wonderful, expressive, and poetic language.”  

Over 30 volunteers visited and read to students across our schools this year. Visitors included Birch staff members, leadership, corporate partners, Young Professionals Board Members, school alumni, Birch parents, and community members who had the opportunity to read to children and engage with students on a special level.  

“Volunteering is a positive gift of my time,” said volunteer reader Karl Smith. “Watching the preschoolers participate in the readings of the stories makes me feel that I’m making a difference in their lives.” 

“I come and read almost every year and it’s always a joy. My kids started here and usually they come with me. It’s just a form of giving back and I feel blessed to do it,” said Board Member Georgiana Casimir-Magloire.  

“This event has brought back my love for teaching and learning,” said Board Member Andrea Belcher.  

Also, in attendance from our Board of Directors was Jean Rawitt who read to students at the Washington Heights Education Center. Other volunteers included readers from corporate partners Lloyds Bank North America and Pfizer who visited our Long Island City Early Childhood Center and Washington Heights Education Center.  

Additionally Council Members Farah Louis and Amanda Farias visited our East Flatbush Early Childhood Center and Soundview Early Childhood Center respectively to read to students, tour the schools, and meet staff at the locations. Council Member Lewis helped distribute AmazonFireHD tablets at the East Flatbush Early Childhood Center as part of a grant funded by her office.   

The day also included special guests at the Springfield Garden Education Center: students from the Phyllis L. Susser School! Several Susser students took time out of their school day to read to students in their classroom. The older students read the story and used props to help enhance the experience for their audience. Susser students were able to go back to their school with signed certificates for their participation in the event.  

Following the readings, students and participants at all the schools took part in creative activities based on the story.