by Clarissa Hardcastle
Jumpstart’s Read for the Record®, presented in partnership with the Pearson Foundation, is one day of the year when millions of individuals come together to celebrate literacy in an effort to jumpstart a child’s future. On October 4, 2012, adults and children across the country will read Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad by David Soman and Jacky Davis in support of Jumpstart’s mission: to work toward the day every child in America enters school prepared to succeed.
The campaign is an annual reading celebration that highlights the need for high quality early education in America by mobilizing adults and children to set a record for the largest shared reading experience. For the first time, Read for the Record will take place over a full week—September 27 through to the record setting day on October 4—giving record breakers across the country even more opportunity to read and to support Jumpstart's mission to work toward the day every child in America enters school prepared to succeed.
We Give Books, a digital reading initiative from the Pearson Foundation and Penguin Group, aims to provide children with free digital books at www.wegivebooks.org, allowing anyone with access to the Internet the chance to explore the site’s online library. We Give Books contributes to Read for the Record through its Read for Our Schools initiative, which donates a copy of the campaign’s official book to a child in need for every free book read online.
“Jumpstart’s Read for the Record shines a spotlight on our obligation to ensure that young people everywhere have an equal chance to succeed,” said Pearson Foundation President and CEO Mark Nieker. “We Give Books and Read for Our Schools add an important digital element that provides another way for people to show they care.”
Research shows that one in three children enters school without the skills he or she needs to be successful. Further, children in low-income neighborhoods start kindergarten 60% behind their peers from more affluent communities. Since 2006, Read for the Record has raised awareness of America's achievement gap and enlisted citizens to be a voice for these children by participating in the campaign. In 2011, more than 2.2 million people took part in the movement.
"Jumpstart's Read for the Record is a call to action to Americans to recognize the importance of quality early education, especially for our most vulnerable children," said Jumpstart's president and CEO, Naila Bolus. "When children start behind, they tend to stay behind. The language and literacy skills instilled in preschool children by the Jumpstart program help set them on a successful path in both school and life."
Since the campaign's inception, more than seven million people have joined local Jumpstart's Read for the Record reading celebrations; Jumpstart has raised more than $7 million to support its year-round work in preschools in low-income neighborhoods; and the Pearson Foundation has donated nearly one million books to local schools, libraries, and community organizations in conjunction with the annual campaign.
A husband and wife creative team, David Soman and Jacky Davis based the characters in the New York Times-bestselling Ladybug Girl books off their own children, Lucy and Sam. Soman and Davis write the Ladybug Girl books together, and Soman does the illustrations. The Ladybug Girl series, published by Penguin Young Readers Group's Dial imprint, continues to grow and find new readers year after year. For more information about Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad, visit http://tinyurl.com/4soxmcz.
Jumpstart is a national early education organization that helps 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. For more information on Jumpstart and Read for the Record, visit www.jstart.org.
The Pearson Foundation, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit, 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. More information on the Pearson Foundation can be found at www.pearsonfoundation.org.
Visit www.wegivebooks.org/readfortherecord to learn more and to register for this year’s Read for the Record campaign.
Clarissa Hardcastle is a strategic communications intern at the International Reading Association.