Jumpstart's Read for the Record 2011 campaign, presented in partnership with Pearson Foundation, has officially set a new world record for the world’s largest shared reading experience. On October 6, adults across the globe read Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney to 2,184,155 children.

Through We Give Books, the digital reading initiative of the Pearson Foundation and the Penguin Group, 75,723 adults and children helped set a new record for the largest digital reading by reading the campaign book online for free, demonstrating how digital technology enabled the campaign to reach even more people this year.

Across the United States, individuals read in homes, schools, libraries, community centers, and online at www.wegivebooks.org all to call for an end to America’s early education achievement gap. The research is undeniable and startling:

  • Children from low-income neighborhoods start kindergarten 60% behind their wealthier peers in early education skills.
  • There is only one book title per 300 children in low-income areas. In middle-income areas, each child typically has 13 book titles of his or her own.

“As a mother of a preschool-age child, it doesn’t sit well with me that there are millions of children in low-income neighborhoods who are not getting the early learning experiences they need to prepare them for success in school and in life,” stated Jumpstart’s Read for the Record Ambassador, Bridget Moynahan. Moynahan, star of Blue Bloods, launched the campaign with her appearance on NBC’s TODAY Show, reading to children and speaking with NBC’s TODAY Show hosts, including Matt Lauer, Ann Curry, and Al Roker.

“The harsh reality is that one in three children enters a kindergarten classroom without essential early education skills. These children start behind, and they stay behind, leaving our entire country at a disadvantage,” commented Jumpstart’s President & CEO Naila Bolus. “It’s every American’s responsibility to stand up for these children, and I’m inspired that millions are joining together to take action and support programs like Jumpstart that are making a difference.”

“Jumpstart’s work with children in low-income neighborhoods is transformative,” said Pearson Foundation President and CEO Mark Nieker. “Their classroom-based interventions help preschool children develop language and literacy skills that they will need for lifelong success. Jumpstart’s Read for the Record makes it possible for everyone to get involved in this nationwide effort, and we’re delighted that thanks in part to We Give Books more people helped shine a light on the work of this exemplary organization.”

Now in its sixth year, Jumpstart’s Read for the Record also celebrates the kick off of Jumpstart’s school year. Since 1993, Jumpstart volunteers have helped to prepare more than 100,000 preschool children in low-income neighborhoods for success in kindergarten and life. Jumpstart’s proven curriculum ensures that these children enter school with the language and literacy skills they need to succeed. Children in the program improve by a full developmental level in just 20 weeks.

For the past five years, Jumpstart has hosted this global event, bringing together celebrities like Bill Cosby, Justin Bieber, Vince Vaughn, Patti LaBelle, Matt Lauer, representatives on Capitol Hill, elected officials, parents, teachers, children and volunteers to help bridge America’s achievement gap. For photos of actress Elisabeth Rohm taking part in this year’s record breaking event, click here.

To find out more about Jumpstart’s Read for the Record, visit www.readfortherecord.org.

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