Business First of Buffalo

There's a llama theme at area schools and businesses this week.

Millions of people will read the book Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney on Thursday, October 6, 2011. That's because it is Jumpstart's "Read for the Record" day.

Schools across Western New York, and across the country, will read the book as part of a campaign to raise awareness and call for an end to America's early education achievement gap, while also setting a world record.

Organizers say millions of children in low-income neighborhoods are at risk of school failure before they even start kindergarten. They say, in some areas, there is only one book available for every 300 children.

Each year, organizers choose a book and get communities to read it together. Last year, the campaign got 2,057,513 children around the world reading the same book at once. This year, just as many are expected to take part in the program, including many area schools and businesses.

At Pinehurst Elementary School, in the Frontier Central School District, students will wear pajamas to school Thursday to go along with the theme of the book that teaches children about a baby llama who has trouble getting to sleep.

Organizers don't expect anyone to doze off at "Monkey See, Monkey Do," a children's bookstore in Clarence. The shop is taking part in the reading campaign by inviting "celebrity readers" to visit and read to children. Celebrities range from former Buffalo Sabre Michael Peca to Erie County Executive Chris Collins. The shop will even have alpacas, which they say is the cousin to a llama on hand to greet children!

Will "Read for the Record" be a success and help more youngsters receive early education? Stay Tuned. Organizers say every little bit helps. That's why their slogan is "Sit down to read in your community. You'll be standing up for children everywhere!"