Global Reading Campaign Makes History While Raising Money and Awareness for Early Education in Low-Income Communities

Jumpstart's Read for the Record Breaks World Record for Reading

Sep 20, 2007, 01:00 ET from Jumpstart

    NEW YORK, Sept. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Jumpstart's Read for the Record
 campaign made history today by breaking a world record for the second year
 in a row with an early morning kick-off on Rockefeller Plaza with NBC's
 TODAY Show hosts Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira participating. Hundreds of
 thousands of children and adults read the same book today and raised more
 than $1 million for early education programs in low-income communities,
 while shining a spotlight on the growing disparities in early childhood
     Jumpstart's Read for the Record campaign included major events in
 Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, New York, and San
 Francisco. Among the hundreds of thousands reading across the nation were
 First Lady Laura Bush, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, Mayor
 Michael Bloomberg, actresses Mariska Hargitay and Gabrielle Union, Grammy
 Award- winners LL Cool J and Wyclef Jean, best-selling author Frank
 McCourt, and several Members of Congress. Each read with a group of
 children today, joining the thousands around the country demonstrating
 their support for Jumpstart and early education.
     The campaign created the world's largest "shared reading experience" as
 children and adults read this year's official campaign book, The Story of
 Ferdinand, written by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson,
 published by Penguin Young Readers Group. More than 1,900 reading events
 took place across the country. Along with today's record-breaking shared
 reading experience, the campaign raised more than $1 million through
 donations and sales of a special-edition campaign book, with proceeds going
 directly to Jumpstart to support its early education programs for at-risk
 children in communities across the nation. Additionally, more than 100,000
 copies of the official campaign book were donated to children in low-income
     As one-third of American children enter kindergarten developmentally
 behind their peers and without the skills necessary to succeed at grade
 level, Jumpstart, the nation's premier early education nonprofit
 organization, and its campaign sponsor The Pearson Foundation, joined
 together again for the campaign's second year to raise awareness of the
 national early education crisis that is rapidly reaching epidemic
     The Pearson Foundation matched each online book donation/purchase with
 its own donation of another children's book and will deliver those to
 children in at-risk communities. Pearson also underwrote all publishing
 costs, making it possible for Jumpstart to receive 100% of the proceeds
 raised through the sale of the special edition books. The campaign was also
 supported by American Eagle Outfitters, Sodexho, Hanna Andersson, Hyatt
 Hotels & Resorts, NBC, Penguin Young Readers Group, Toys "R" Us, and XM
 Satellite Radio.
     Jumpstart President James Cleveland discussed the crucial commitment of
 Pearson and other partners to Jumpstart's Read for the Record campaign:
 "Our joint efforts are an important step to eliminating the early education
 gap that exists between income levels. When children begin behind their
 peers, catching up, especially without additional assistance, is difficult
 and unlikely," said Cleveland. "Children who miss out on key cognitive,
 social and emotional experiences are more apt to repeat grades, drop out of
 school, and even engage in criminal activity."
     Pearson Foundation President Mark Nieker added, "Pearson people and
 businesses -- and each of Jumpstart's public and private partners -- know
 the importance of Jumpstart's work with young children. A child's reading
 level in the first grade is one of the best predictors of performance in
 later grades. We know that Jumpstart is working to ensure that by first
 grade, a child from a low-income family will no longer have only one-fourth
 the vocabulary of his mid-income peer."
     Cleveland added: "Statistics show that middle-income homes average
 roughly 13 books per child. In low-income neighborhoods the ratio is 1
 age-appropriate book for every 300 children. In addition, it's important to
 note the visible relationship between family income and the amount of
 one-to-one, adult-child interaction that takes place in the home -
 interaction that is crucial to children's cerebral and emotional
 development," he said. "Studies show that children from low-income
 communities engage in one-to-one reading far less often than those from
 more affluent situations." Jumpstart, and its annual record-breaking
 campaign, seeks to bring increased visibility to these sobering statistics.
     Last year's inaugural event also made history when 150,000 people read
 the same book on a single day at more than 1,500 local events across 47
 states and raised $500,000 through book sales and additional donations.
 Shared reading experiences ranged from a quiet reading period for one adult
 and one child in their home to big group events with hundreds of people
 gathered at public facilities for large community reading sessions.
     This year, group reading events were held across the country in
 elementary schools and high-schools, in colleges and universities, in
 community organizations and libraries, and at Toys "R" Us stores, Hyatt
 hotels, playgrounds, offices, and homes. Readers registered through the
 campaign's homepage at and also took part in the
 campaign online through a digital copy of the book and featured audio
 readings by XM on-air personalities Dr. Maya Angelou, Danica Patrick, and
 Bob Edwards, as well as Mandy Moore.
     Jumpstart's longstanding relationships with its national multi-year
 partners are a key component of its ongoing efforts to help at-risk
 children develop language, literacy, and social skills in preparation for
     Jumpstart is a national nonprofit organization that engages preschool
 children from low-income communities in an intensive early education
 program to improve their cognitive and emotional development, ensuring they
 enter kindergarten prepared to succeed at grade level. Jumpstart's
 foundation is its research-backed curriculum, active learning approach, and
 one-to-one adult- child interaction. Jumpstart trains adult mentors,
 primarily college students, to work in exclusive yearlong relationships
 with the children. By providing the children with undivided attention,
 reading with them, and working with them on academic and social skills,
 Jumpstart mentors increase children's vocabularies, enhance their ability
 to read and learn, and improve the quality of their social interactions by
 the time they enter kindergarten. In 2005- 2006, children who participated
 in Jumpstart programs increased their literacy, language, and social skills
 by 26 percent. Since 1993, thousands of Jumpstart mentors have helped more
 than 50,000 children from low-income communities around the country enter
 school ready to learn at grade level. Jumpstart has earned a four-star
 rating from Charity Navigator and is the recipient of the Fast
 Company/Monitor Group Social Capitalist Award (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007) and
 the Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy's Directors Award. For
 more information about Jumpstart, visit

SOURCE Jumpstart