Pearson Helps Break World Record for Largest Shared Reading Experience

Publishes Custom Book for Reading Awareness Campaign

New York, NY. - Pearson people helped set a new world record yesterday for the largest "shared reading experience" as part of Jumpstart's Read for the Record 2007, breaking the world record for the number of people reading the same book on a single day.  Aimed at bringing awareness to the early literacy crisis, the Campaign raised more than $1 million to further the non-profit organization Jumpstart's work with at-risk preschoolers.

Pearson and its 20,000 staff of the Financial Times Group, The Penguin Group, and Pearson Education participated in thousands of individual events throughout the U.S. and around the world, reading a custom limited edition of Penguin Young Readers children's classic The Story of Ferdinand.  With 100% underwriting by the Pearson Foundation, all proceeds from sales of the book at Toys "R" Us, American Eagle Outfitters, Hanna Andersson, and Follett's college bookstores will benefit Jumpstart in its mission to prepare children from low-income communities for success in school and in life.

The Pearson Foundation donated more than 50,000 books to schools, teachers, and education partners, and contributed tens of thousands of books to Head Start and other early education centers. New this year, the Pearson Foundation matched online donations made during the campaigning with corresponding donations of children's books to at risk children.

The Campaign kicked off with First Lady Laura Bush appearing on the TODAY Show reading The Story of Ferdinand to children at the White House.  TODAY Show hosts, Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira, who wrote the foreword to the custom book, also read Ferdinand to children during the program, along with other guest celebrity readers.  Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings hosted a group of children in Ohio, while Pearson and Jumpstart sponsored a national event at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Pearson people hosted events with schools, libraries, museums, Mayors, and Governors, joining readers of all ages in breaking the world record.

Mark Nieker, president of the Pearson Foundation said, "In the U.S., one-third of our children - almost 1 million young people each year - enter kindergarten without the vocabulary, reading readiness and social skills of their middle-income peers.  We know that children that start with these deficits are not likely to catch up.  We need to change this, and that's why the Pearson Foundation, our public and private partners, and Pearson people around the globe are so supportive of Jumpstart's work with our at-risk children."  He added, "Together, we have been working on this effort for months, and we are ecstatic that Jumpstart's Read for the Record 2007 Campaign has been such a success.  

For more information, go to

About the Pearson Foundation and Jumpstart

Jumpstart and the Pearson Foundation share a passion for education and inspiring people to reach their full potential. These shared goals and values led Jumpstart and the Pearson Foundation to create the Pearson Teacher Fellowship in 2001. Each year, the Pearson Teacher Fellowship provides the opportunity for a select group of achievement-oriented college graduates to enter the early education field by becoming preschool teachers in Head Start and other early learning centers serving at-risk children. The Fellowship provides these talented individuals a stipend, intensive training, assistance earning teaching certification, and additional support and resources during the first two years of their teaching careers. In 2006, Pearson and its businesses The Financial Times Group, The Penguin Group, and Pearson Education became a major sponsor of the inaugural campaign for Jumpstart's Read for the Record, which raised over $1 million for Jumpstart's work to help preschoolers from low-income communities with their language and literacy skills. For more information, go to


Kate Miller