Orange County beat its own record by reading to more than 21,000 young children — including at Costa Mesa's Metro Pointe — in October during a national day of shared reading.

THINK Together and the Children and Families Commission of Orange Country participants read the "Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad" to 21,214 children up to 5 years old during Jumpstart's annual Read for the Record event Oct. 4 across Orange County.

"Reading to children early and often has so many benefits that its importance can't be overstated," commission Chairwoman Sandra Barry said in a prepared statement. "It ignites children's imagination and curiosity, and opens doors to fun and exciting new worlds."

Jumpstart, an early education program, started the national Read for the Record event, which brings adults and children together for a shared reading experience, in 2006. Since its inception, 7 million children have been read to, more than a million low-income children have received books and $7 million has been raised for early education.

— Britney Barnes

Twitter: @britneyjbarnes