Jumpstart's Read for the Record makes history, adults read to more than two million children around the globe

Event helps raise awareness about importance of early literacy

Boston, MA (PRWEB) November 16, 2009 -- Jumpstart’s Read for the Record 2009 campaign officially set a new record for the world’s largest shared reading experience. On Oct. 8th, adults across the globe read Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar to 2,019,752 million children! This year’s campaign shattered the previous record of 688,000, set by Jumpstart’s Read for the Record 2008.

Presented in partnership with sponsor and founding partner Pearson, Jumpstart’s Read for the Record is a celebration of reading and community service created to raise awareness about how important reading with young children is to developing crucial early language and literacy skills for success in school and in life. This year’s campaign donated 275,000 books and raised more than $1.4 million to support Jumpstart’s year-long work with preschool children. Donations are still being accepted at www.readfortherecord.org/donate.

Jumpstart’s Read for the Record is further supported by Jumpstart’s National Corporate Partners American Eagle Outfitters and Sodexo and the campaign’s Official Retail Partner, Walmart.

Congress officially declared October 8, 2009 as Jumpstart’s Read for the Record Day and celebrities, governors, first ladies, members of Congress, mayors, and business, philanthropic and community leaders joined the campaign in major cities including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

The record-breaking day’s events kicked off on NBC’s TODAY Show with hosts Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira, Jumpstart President James Cleveland, and Bill Barke, Jumpstart Board Member and CEO, Pearson’s Higher Ed Arts & Sciences Group, as well as celebrity readers including campaign spokesperson Mary-Louise Parker, Tiki Barber, Justin Bieber, Jenna Bush Hager, Giada de Laurentiis, Sonia Manzano, Madison Pettis, Jennifer Stone, Vince Vaughn and The Very Hungry Caterpillar author Eric Carle.

Grassroots efforts – the heart and soul of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record – were again impressive in number and scope. More than 2,000 events were held in homes, schools, libraries, community centers, and town halls across the country. The largest campaign event was held in Houston where 33,000 students participated throughout the Houston Independent School District! Internationally, there were 200 events in countries including Afghanistan, Australia, Guam, India, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Romania, Senegal, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.

To access press releases highlighting local events throughout the US, visit

Corporate Partner support is crucial to the continued success of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record. Highlights from the 2009 campaign are included below:

  • Pearson, the campaign’s sponsor and founding partner, donated more than 275,000 copies of the campaign book to school districts and USO centers in the US and abroad so they could read on the campaign day. Over 3,000 Pearson People organized more than 700 events around the country. Through Pearson’s extensive outreach efforts, nearly 1,500 school districts participated with tens of thousands of individual schools participating.
  • Walmart, the official retail partner of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record 2009, sold limited-edition copies of The Very Hungry Caterpillar through October 31, with net proceeds from book sales benefiting Jumpstart’s year-long programs*. Walmart believes in a philosophy of operating globally and giving back locally. To that end, Walmart embraced Jumpstart’s Read for the Record by hosting events at 1,100 stores nationwide and reading to 188,431 children. * A minimum of $1.00 (12.5% of the retail price) for each book purchased.
  • American Eagle Outfitters reached out to its broad customer base to encourage participation in the record breaking event on October 8, and purchased thousands of special edition copies of the official campaign book for children in communities throughout the US and Canada. The company’s efforts culminated in an event organized for Jumpstart children in Pittsburgh, home of American Eagle Outfitter’s corporate headquarters.
  • Penguin Young Readers Group, for the fourth consecutive year, published the custom limited edition of the official campaign book, and helped promote, among its readers, the importance of reading to children across all regions and cultures in the United States.
  • Sodexo has supported Jumpstart for several years to help break the cycle of poverty that exists today in America. Through this partnership, Sodexo supports Jumpstart's efforts to improve early education in order to eliminate the achievement gap, which leads to future social and economic disparities. Sodexo views the campaign as a critical tool in increasing visibility for this social imperative and was involved on campuses and in schools across the country on October 8.

“We are thrilled that Jumpstart’s Read for the Record reached over TWO MILLION children this year,” said Jumpstart President James Cleveland. “Knowing that so many adults and children read The Very Hungry Caterpillar together to raise awareness of the early literacy crisis is awe inspiring and helps reinvigorate Jumpstart’s commitment to helping preschool children in low-income communities on a year-round basis.”

“Focusing everyone’s attention on one book for a single day highlights the importance of reading as the foundation of all learning,” said Pearson Foundation President Mark Nieker. “Pearson shares the excitement of all of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record campaign partners about setting a new world record, and showcasing the critical role this great organization plays in supporting literacy at a crucial point in a young child’s life.”

To find out more about Jumpstart and Jumpstart’s Read for the Record, visit www.readfortherecord.org. To find out more about The Pearson Foundation, visit www.pearsonfoundation.org.

About Jumpstart

Jumpstart is a national early education organization that works toward the day every child in America enters school prepared to succeed. To cultivate a child’s social, emotional and intellectual readiness, Jumpstart brings college students and community volunteers together with preschool children for year long, individualized tutoring and mentoring. Since 1993, more than 70,000 preschool children across America have benefited from millions of hours of Jumpstart service. Jumpstart’s national sponsors include American Eagle Outfitters, AmeriCorps, Pearson, Sodexo and Starbucks. Jumpstart is the five-time recipient of the Fast Company/Monitor Social Capitalist Award (2004-2008) and has received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. For more information, visit the Jumpstart Web site at www.jstart.org.

About the Pearson Foundation

Pearson (NYSE: PSO), the education, services, and technology company, is Jumpstart’s Read for the Record’s Sponsor and Founding 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.