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Kids Jumpstart Reading With 'Bear' Book At Stepping Stones Museum

William Salvatore, 3, of Fairfield, and his grandmother, Ellen Nelly, inspect the paper bag puppet he created at Stepping Stones's Jumpstart Read for the Record program in Norwalk as other participants finish up their crafts. Photo Credit: Carolyn Mueller
A closer look at two bear paper bag puppets created during the Jumpstart Read for the Record program at Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk. Photo Credit: Carolyn Mueller
The 2016 book chosen for Jumpstarts Read for the Record campaign is "The Bear Ate Your Sandwich," by Julia Sarcone-Roach. Photo Credit: Carolyn Mueller
Brenda Smith, Family & Teacher Resource Center manager at Stepping Stones in Norwalk, looks on as participants in the Jumpstart Read for the Record program create paper bag puppets after reading "The Bear Ate Your Sandwich." Photo Credit: Carolyn Mueller

NORWALK, Conn. — Brenda Smith looked at all the paper bag puppets young children were creating at Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk and smiled.

The children had come to the museum Thursday to participate in Jumpstart's Read for the Record program. It is the largest shared reading experience in the world. In it, millions of people read the same book in a 24-hour period. This year's selection was "The Bear Ate Your Sandwich," by Julia Sarcone-Roach.

This year marks the 11th anniversary of Read for the Record, a campaign organized by Jumpstart to promote literacy for young children and inspire adults to read with them. The goal is to have all children entering kindergarten prepared for success.

Smith's coordination of the program at Stepping Stones included coming up with an activity for the children to do after the reading of this year's book.

"I thought the paper bag puppets tied in well with the book," she said, pointing out that the children turned lunch bags into bears, and the story was about a bear eating someone's sandwich. The children were deeply engaged in making the puppets.

As participants began to pack up their stuff, William Salvatore, 3, of Fairfield, was almost satisfied with the two bears he and his grandmother, Ellen Nelly had created, except that one of them was missing googly eyes. But Smith had a variety of googly eyes available for him to choose from, so with his grandmother's help, Salvatore soon had the second bear finished.

Jumpstart makes a special edition of the campaign book available with tips and discussion questions to inspire adults to read with children. The book can also be read for free online by clicking here before Oct. 31. It is available in both English and Spanish.

For more information about Stepping Stones Museum for Children, 303 West Ave. in Norwalk, click here or call 203-899-0606.

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