Literacy Event Gets Children on the Same Page
UT Dallas Jumpstart Program Aids Pre-Schoolers in Low-Income Neighborhoods

Volunteers from UT Dallas recently brought the simple joy of reading to life for inner-city preschoolers.

UT Dallas’ Jumpstart program, McDermott Library and the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement teamed up to bring Jumpstart’s Read for the Record campaign to UT Dallas.

The event on Thursday, Oct. 7, was part of Jumpstart’s campaign to bring children and adults together to read the same book, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, on the same day, in homes and communities all over the world. The organization hoped the national reading event would reach 2.5 million children.

Armadillos to Zebras Child Care Center in Dallas, affiliated with Educational First Steps, brought 19 children to the University for the event.

Terry Cartwright, senior training specialist in Human Resources Management, was asked to read to the children because of his animated voice.

“I could not turn down the opportunity. I believe that reading is at the heart of our growth as people and that children must be exposed to the joys of reading at an early age,” said Cartwright. 

Jumpstart members and McDermott Library staff volunteers helped the children with an activity in which they glued the book’s main character, Peter, onto construction paper and used cotton balls as snow. 

McDermott Library provided the children with bags of colors and coloring pages. Each child also received a copy of The Snowy Day to take home.

“The Read for the Record campaign also kicks off Jumpstart’s yearlong program, which brings together college students and preschool children in low-income neighborhoods to help prepare them for success in the future,” said Irene Marroquin Bellatin, UT Dallas’ Jumpstart site manager.

The UT Dallas Jumpstart program is part of a national program that pairs at-risk children with adult volunteers in intensive, yearlong relationships to build literacy as well as social and emotional skills.

The UT Dallas Jumpstart program places volunteers in three Educational First Steps-affiliated child care centers in Dallas. This fall the program met its recruitment goal of 30 volunteers. Students from all majors who want to work with children can apply.

The visit was facilitated by Olga Reyes, administrative project coordinator in the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement; and Ellen Safley, associate library director of McDermott Library.

Jach Ross, an administrative services officer at McDermott Library, helps children assemble Snowy Day pictures Jumpstart’s Read for the Record campaign.


Guests are treated to A Snowy Day, courtesy of Terry Cartwright of Human Resources, with a signed version provided by Layla D’Entremont.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].