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Students set to break world record Thursday

Students in pre-K through first grade plan to join other school children from around the world Thursday looking to set a new world record for reading.

The Gwinnett County Public Schools district's language arts director believes the international literacy initiative "sends a strong message to everyone about the critical role of literacy."

Alicia McCartney feels that it "also sends a powerful message to the children themselves."

Volunteers will participate in the shared reading experience with "Llama Llama Red Pajama," a children's book chosen for this year's global event.

Last year, the local school district had the best participation rate in the nation, with 29,673 students involved.

As part of this year's event, students invited community members into classrooms to help them set the new record by reading out loud to them. Each participating school classroom got a donated copy of the book, which a volunteer will read Thursday.

"Reading to them and reading with them allows these volunteers to share their love of literacy," McCartney said.

Community members who want to read to local children should contact their local school.

Parents and community members can also watch the event on television. A five-minute program will air at 8, 10:30 a.m., noon, 3, 5 and 7:30 p.m. Thursday on GCPS TV.