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 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 more than 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.

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.

In Los Angeles 100 children were joined by Lo Bosworth of MTV’s The Hills, Actor Henry Winkler, Emily Osment of Disney’s Hannah Montana, and Bill Nye the Science Guy to read. Others at the event included Beth Wray, President, Pearson Learning Teams and Superintendent Dr. Darline Robles, LA County Office of Education.

Look To The Stars attended a special reading in New York by Nelly Furtado. We were also lucky enough to interview Lo Bosworth about her involvement with Jumpstart.

Jumpstart was founded in 1993 at Yale University at the intersection of two national trends: the public need for quality early childhood programs and the emerging national service movement recruiting thousands of college students to community service. During the first year of the program, 15 college students worked one-to-one with 15 preschoolers at New Haven Head Start.

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