Jumpstart and Pearson Foundation announce 2008 Jumpstart's Read for the Record Campaign

Jumpstart and Pearson Foundation Announce 2008 Jumpstart's Read for the RecordCampaignCampaign to Promote Early Education Launches at International ReadingAssociation Conference in Atlanta.

ATLANTA, May 6 /PRNewswire/

  • Each year, one third of America's children -- over 1 million kindergarteners -- arrive at their first day of school developmentally behind their peers and without the skills necessary to succeed.(Carnegie Foundation).
  • Today's first graders from low-income communities have one fourth the vocabulary of their mid-income peers.This matters because we know a child's reading level in 1st grade is one of the best predictors of his/her subsequent performance in 10th grade. (Children's Defense Fund).
  • Three-year-olds from middle class families in the U.S. have higher vocabularies than the parents of welfare children.(University of Kansas research).
  • In middle income neighborhoods, the ratio of books per child is 13 to 1. In low-income neighborhoods, the ratio is one age-appropriate book for every 300 children.
  • Over 80% of preschool and after-school programs serving children from low-income families have no age-appropriate books.
  • Some states project the number of future prison cells needed by the literacy rate of its third graders.

How do we change these dismal statistics?

At the annual convention of the International Reading Association inAtlanta, the non-profit group Jumpstart and the Pearson Foundation todayannounced the third annual Jumpstart Read for the Record Campaign. Thisinternational event to bring awareness to the importance of reading to youngchildren will take place on October 2, with readers of all ages joiningtogether to break the world record for the number of people reading the samebook on the same day across the globe.

This year's official Campaign book is the beloved children's classicCorduroy from Penguin Young Readers. The special edition features anintroduction and request for support for the Campaign from NBC's TODAY Showhosts Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira, a forward by LL Cool J, and a collectionof reading tips for parents of young children. The book will be availablebeginning in August from www.readfortherecord.org and at special retailersincluding Hanna Andersson, and Follett's college bookstores.

Again this year, thousands of reading events will be organized byGovernors, Mayors, schools, businesses, libraries, and other organizations,all leading to the one-day reading event on October 2. Jumpstart's Read forthe Record aims to raise public awareness about the early education gap thatexists for families with low income levels, to bring all members of thecommunity together to be a part of the solution and to raise funds to supportJumpstart's year-round program that works to ensure every child in Americaenters school prepared to succeed.

"For many Americans, the books they read as children are some of theirfavorite childhood memories," says Jumpstart's President James Cleveland."Unfortunately, most children in low-income communities have few, if any,age-appropriate books in their homes. As a result, they miss out on thereading experiences that form the foundation for success in school and life.In fact, each year one third of America's children arrive at their first dayof school without the skills necessary to succeed. At Jumpstart, we'reremedying this problem by giving these young people important one-to-oneattention, one child at a time."

For the third year in a row, the Pearson Foundation is underwriting thepublication of the Campaign's official book, ensuring that 100% of theproceeds directly benefit Jumpstart's work with at-risk children. From nowthrough the Fall, The Pearson Foundation will be working with teachers,district superintendents, government officials, businesses, and educationalorganizations to organize reading events on October 2; to highlight theimportance of reading to young children; and to distribute more than 100,000of copies of Corduroy to schools, teachers, and education partners, includingHead Start and other early education centers. The Pearson Foundation is alsoinviting businesses and other institutions to sponsor additional bookdonations to children in low-income communities both in the U.S. and abroad.

"Focusing everyone's attention on one book for a single day is a great wayto highlight the critical task of preparing young people for a lifetime ofreading and learning," said Pearson Foundation President Mark Nieker. "We hopeJumpstart's Read for the Record will encourage others to help consider thisproblem and help them to recognize the important role Jumpstart plays in thelives of young children everywhere."

During the past two years, more than 400,000 people registered as recordbreakers. Jumpstart's Read for the Record Campaign has raised more than$2,000,000 to support Jumpstart's mission. In addition, Jumpstart and Pearsonwere recognized for the Read for the Record collaboration as 2007 CauseMarketing Halo Award Winners.

For more information, visit www.readfortherecord.org andwww.pearsonfoundation.org. In addition to information on how to register toparticipate, the websites also provide information about donating books toJumpstart children, as well as hosting and joining shared reading eventsacross the nation.

About Jumpstart

Jumpstart is a national nonprofit organization that engages preschoolchildren from low-income communities in an intensive early education program.Jumpstart trains adult mentors, primarily college students, to work inyearlong, one-to-one relationships with at-risk children to improve theirlanguage, literacy, and social skills. Since 1993, thousands of Jumpstartmentors have helped more than 50,000 children from low-income communitiesaround the country enter school ready to learn at grade level. To find outmore, visit http://www.jstart.org.

About the Pearson Foundation

The Pearson Foundation extends Pearson's commitment to education bypartnering with leading nonprofit, civic, and business organizations toprovide financial, organizational, and publishing assistance across the globe.The Foundation aims to make a difference by sponsoring innovative educationalprograms and extending its educational expertise to help in classrooms and inlocal communities. More information on the Pearson Foundation can be found at www.pearsonfoundation.org.   

About the Pearson Foundation and Jumpstart

Jumpstart's Read for the Record Campaign is just one component of thePearson Jumpstart partnership. Jumpstart and the Pearson Foundation share apassion for education and inspiring people to reach their full potential.These shared goals and values led Jumpstart and the Pearson Foundation tocreate the Pearson Teacher Fellowship in 2001. Each year, the Pearson TeacherFellowship provides the opportunity for a select group of achievement-orientedcollege graduates to enter the early education field by becoming preschoolteachers in Head Start and other early learning centers serving at-riskchildren. The Fellowship provides these talented individuals a stipend,intensive training, assistance earning teaching certification, and additionalsupport and resources during the first two years of their teaching careers. In2006, Pearson and its businesses The Financial Times Group, The Penguin Group,and Pearson Education became the Sponsor and Founding Partner of Jumpstart'sRead for the Record, which to date has raised over $2 million for Jumpstart'swork to help preschoolers from low-income communities with their language andliteracy skills.

For more information, go to www.pearsonfoundation.org.
Stacey Finkel, +1-202-667-0901, stacey.finkel@widmeyer.com, for PearsonFoundation