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Students 'Read for the Record'

State Judge Victoria Darrisaw reads to a kindergarten class at Live Oak Elementary in Albany Friday as part of Georgia’s Read for the Record program. (Staff photo: Laura Williams)

State Judge Victoria Darrisaw reads to a kindergarten class at Live Oak Elementary in Albany Friday as part of Georgia’s Read for the Record program. (Staff photo: Laura Williams)

ALBANY — Students in Jade Kavanaugh’s kindergarten class got a real treat Friday when Dougherty County State Court Judge Victoria Darrisaw came to visit.

Judge Darrisaw stopped by the class as part of the nationwide “Read for the Record” campaign, a national event to jump-start early childhood education. As part of the effort, community members and leaders visit schools to assist in the development of literacy skills.

Each year, the program has shone a national spotlight on America’s early education achievement gap and highlighted ways to address the crisis. Since its launch in 2006, the campaign has raised more than $8 million for early education programs and provided more than 1.2 million books for children in low-income neighborhoods.

A mother of young children herself, Darrisaw fervently believes in the importance of childhood literacy. “This effort really is so important — it’s our future,” she said. “Knowing these skills will help these children create a better life. And reading is just so much fun — books really do open the doors to a whole new world.”

On Friday, Darrisaw read “Otis,” by Loren Long, which tells the heart-warming story of a faithful friendship between farm tractor Otis and a baby calf. Throughout the story, Darrisaw asked the children questions and afterward had the kids talk about their own special friendships. One enterprising student noted that his teacher, Ms. Kavanaugh, was his special friend.

Kavanaugh herself is a strong advocate of “Read for the Record.”

“It’s a wonderful program,” she said. “It has a lot a good resources and has been working really well for the kids.

“Having Judge Darrisaw here today has been wonderful. She is a great role model for the students, and I know her visit will have a positive impact on our kids.”

For more information on “Read for the Record,” visit http://www.jstart.org.