More than two million people break world reading record to combat nation's early education crisis

6th Annual Jumpstart's Read for the Record focuses attention on the importance of early education and school preparedness

BOSTON, MA – Jumpstart’s Read for the Record® 2011 campaign, presented in partnership with Pearson Foundation, has officially set a new world record for the world’s largest shared reading experience. On October 6, adults across the globe read Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney to 2,184,155 children.

Through We Give Books, the digital reading initiative of the Pearson Foundation and the Penguin Group, 75,723 adults and children helped set a new record for the largest digital reading by reading the campaign book online for free, demonstrating how digital technology enabled the campaign to reach even more people this year.

Across the United States, individuals read in homes, schools, libraries, community centers, and online at www.wegivebooks.org all to call for an end to America’s early education achievement gap. The research is undeniable and startling:

  • Children from low-income neighborhoods start kindergarten 60% behind their wealthier peers in early education skills.
  • There is only one book title per 300 children in low-income areas. In middle-income areas, each child typically has 13 book titles of his or her own.

“As a mother of a preschool-age child, it doesn’t sit well with me that there are millions of children in low-income neighborhoods who are not getting the early learning experiences they need to prepare them for success in school and in life,” stated Jumpstart’s Read for the Record Ambassador, Bridget Moynahan. Moynahan, star of Blue Bloods, launched the campaign with her appearance on NBC’s TODAY Show, reading to children and speaking with NBC’s TODAY Show hosts, including Matt Lauer, Ann Curry, and Al Roker.

“The harsh reality is that one in three children enters a kindergarten classroom without essential early education skills. These children start behind, and they stay behind, leaving our entire country at a disadvantage,” commented Jumpstart’s President & CEO Naila Bolus. “It’s every American’s responsibility to stand up for these children, and I’m inspired that millions are joining together to take action and support programs like Jumpstart that are making a difference.”

“Jumpstart’s work with children in low-income neighborhoods is transformative,” said Pearson Foundation President and CEO Mark Nieker. “Their classroom-based interventions help preschool children develop language and literacy skills that they will need for lifelong success. Jumpstart’s Read for the Record makes it possible for everyone to get involved in this nationwide effort, and we’re delighted that thanks in part to We Give Books more people helped shine a light on the work of this exemplary organization.”

Now in its sixth year, Jumpstart’s Read for the Record also celebrates the kick off of Jumpstart’s school year. Since 1993, Jumpstart volunteers have helped to prepare more than 100,000 preschool children in low-income neighborhoods for success in kindergarten and life. Jumpstart’s proven curriculum ensures that these children enter school with the language and literacy skills they need to succeed. Children in the program improve by a full developmental level in just 20 weeks.

To find out more about Jumpstart’s Read for the Record, visit www.readfortherecord.org.

2011 CAMPAIGN HIGHLIGHTS

NBC’s TODAY SHOW READS FOR THE RECORD
The day kicked off on NBC’s TODAY Show with the 2011 Ambassador for Jumpstart’s Read for the Record, Bridget Moynahan, star of the television series Blue Bloods. She is joined in support of the campaign by TODAY Show hosts Matt Lauer, Ann Curry, and Al Roker.

BRIDGET MOYNAHAN LIGHTS EMPIRE STATE BUILDING
Following her appearance on NBC’s TODAY Show, Bridget Moynahan lit the Empire State Building red for Jumpstart’s Read for the Record. The color red celebrates the Jumpstart organization’s signature logo color, as well as the red pajamas featured in Llama Llama Red Pajama.

JUMPSTART’S READ FOR THE RECORD ON CAPITOL HILL
National and local leaders, including Jack Lew, Director of the Office of Management and Budget at the White House, Dr. Jacqueline Jones, Senior Advisor on Early Learning at the U.S. Department of Education, and Senators Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Thad Cochran (R-MS), joined preschool children and Jumpstart Corps members on Capitol Hill to show their support for the importance of quality early education.

AUTHOR AND ILLUSTRATOR, ANNA DEWDNEY, READS FOR THE RECORD
Anna Dewdney, the author of this year’s Campaign book, joined to with children at several events in New York City.

ACROSS THE COUNTRY
Celebrities and politicians, as well as business, philanthropic and community leaders, joined events in major cities including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, DC. To learn more about record-breaking events on October 6, visit www.readfortherecord.org/media.

EXEMPLARY CORPORATE SUPPORT
Jumpstart and the Pearson Foundation are joined in supporting Jumpstart’s Read for the Record by the following:

  • NATIONAL PARTNERS: Pearson Foundation, Presenting Sponsor; Penguin Young Readers Group, Official Book Publisher; We Give Books, National Campaign Partner; 77kids by American Eagle, Marketing Partner.
  • MEDIA PARTNERS: NBC’s TODAY Show; Univision, Spanish Language Media Partner.
  • MAJOR METRO AREA SPONSORS: Bloomberg, New York City Sponsor; Bright Horizons, Chicago Sponsor; Chase, New York City Sponsor; Georgia Power, Atlanta Sponsor; MFS, Boston Sponsor; PNC Bank, Washington, DC Sponsor; Staples, Boston Metro-West Sponsor; United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, Atlanta Sponsor.

Media Contact

Stacey Finkel
Pearson Foundation
703-304-1377
stacey.finkel@pearsonfoundation.org

About Jumpstart

Every child deserves the chance to succeed, yet studies show that children from low-income neighborhoods are at a greater risk of school failure. Jumpstart is a national early education organization that helps these children develop the language and literacy skills they need for school, setting them on a path to close the achievement gap before it is too late. Since 1993, Jumpstart has trained nearly 25,000 college students and community volunteers to deliver its program to more than 100,000 preschool children nationwide. Jumpstart’s award-winning program holds a “Best in America” seal from Independent Charities of America. Jumpstart’s national sponsors include American Eagle Outfitters, AmeriCorps, Franklin Templeton Investments, and the Pearson Foundation. Join us to work toward the day every child in America enters school prepared to succeed. Learn more at www.jstart.org.

About Jumpstart’s Read for the Record

Jumpstart’s Read for the Record©, presented in partnership with the Pearson Foundation, is Jumpstart’s world record breaking campaign that brings children and adults together to read the same book, on the same day, in homes and communities all over the world. The campaign also kicks off Jumpstart’s yearlong program, preparing preschool children in low-income neighborhoods for success in school and life. Since its inception in 2006, the campaign has reached more than 5 million children and more than 800,000 books have been donated to children in low-income neighborhoods. In addition to the Pearson Foundation, Jumpstart’s Read for the Record is further supported by National Campaign Partner We Give Books and Official Book Publisher Penguin Young Readers Group. For more information, visit www.readfortherecord.org.

About the Pearson Foundation

Pearson, the international education and information company, is Jumpstart’s Read for the Record Presenting Sponsor and Founding National Partner. The Pearson Foundation extends Pearson's commitment to education by partnering with leading nonprofit, civic, and business organizations to provide financial, organizational, and publishing assistance across the globe. The Foundation aims to make a difference by sponsoring innovative educational programs and extending its educational expertise to help in classrooms and in local communities. For more information, visit www.pearsonfoundation.org.

About We Give Books

We Give Books is a new digital initiative that enables anyone with access to the Internet to put books in the hands of children who don't have them, simply by reading online. We Give Books combines the joy of reading with the power of helping others, providing a platform for caregivers and educators to inspire children to become lifelong readers and lifelong givers. We Give Books also helps some of the world's best, most inspiring, literacy organizations by spreading the word about their great work and by providing books to the young people these organizations support. For more information, visit www.wegivebooks.org.