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

Published 05-07-08

Submitted by Pearson Foundation

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 in Atlanta, the non-profit group Jumpstart and the Pearson Foundation today announced the third annual Jumpstart Read for the Record Campaign. This international event to bring awareness to the importance of reading to young children will take place on October 2, with readers of all ages joining together to break the world record for the number of people reading the same book on the same day across the globe.

    This year's official Campaign book is the beloved children's classic Corduroy from Penguin Young Readers. The special edition features an introduction and request for support for the Campaign from NBC's TODAY Show hosts Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira, a forward by LL Cool J, and a collection of reading tips for parents of young children. The book will be available beginning in August from and at special retailers including Hanna Andersson, and Follett's college bookstores.

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

    "For many Americans, the books they read as children are some of their favorite 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 the reading 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 day of school without the skills necessary to succeed. At Jumpstart, we're remedying this problem by giving these young people important one-to-one attention, one child at a time."

    For the third year in a row, the Pearson Foundation is underwriting the publication of the Campaign's official book, ensuring that 100% of the proceeds directly benefit Jumpstart's work with at-risk children. From now through the Fall, The Pearson Foundation will be working with teachers, district superintendents, government officials, businesses, and educational organizations to organize reading events on October 2; to highlight the importance of reading to young children; and to distribute more than 100,000 of copies of Corduroy to schools, teachers, and education partners, including Head Start and other early education centers. The Pearson Foundation is also inviting businesses and other institutions to sponsor additional book donations 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 way to highlight the critical task of preparing young people for a lifetime of reading and learning," said Pearson Foundation President Mark Nieker. "We hope Jumpstart's Read for the Record will encourage others to help consider this problem and help them to recognize the important role Jumpstart plays in the lives of young children everywhere."

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

    For more information, visit and In addition to information on how to register to participate, the websites also provide information about donating books to Jumpstart children, as well as hosting and joining shared reading events across the nation.

    About Jumpstart
    Jumpstart is a national nonprofit organization that engages preschool children from low-income communities in an intensive early education program. Jumpstart trains adult mentors, primarily college students, to work in yearlong, one-to-one relationships with at-risk children to improve their language, literacy, and social skills. 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. To find out more, visit

    About the Pearson Foundation
    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. More information on the Pearson Foundation can be found at

    About the Pearson Foundation and Jumpstart
    Jumpstart's Read for the Record Campaign is just one component of the Pearson Jumpstart partnership. 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 the Sponsor and Founding Partner of Jumpstart's Read for the Record, which to date has raised over $2 million for Jumpstart's work to help preschoolers from low-income communities with their language and literacy skills. For more information, go to

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    Pearson Foundation

    Pearson Foundation

    Pearson (NYSE: PSO) is the global leader in educational publishing, assessment, information and services, helping people of all ages to learn at their own pace, in their own way. For students preK-12, Pearson provides effective and innovative curriculum products in all available media, educational assessment and measurement for students and teachers, student information systems, and teacher professional development and certification programs. Our respected brands include Scott Foresman, Prentice Hall, SuccessMaker, Waterford, AGS, PowerSchool, Chancery SMS, SASI, Pearson Inform, and many others. Our comprehensive offerings help inform targeted instruction and intervention so that success is within reach of every student. Pearson's other primary businesses include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group.

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