Jumpstart, a national early education non-profit organization, announced today that GRAMMY Award winning, multi-platinum artist, Ashanti, is the official celebrity ambassador of the 2012 Read for the Record campaign.

As celebrity ambassador, Ashanti will officially kick off the campaign with a special appearance on the TODAY Show on September 24, 2012 to encourage people to participate in the world’s largest shared reading experience on October 4, 2012. Ashanti will join the TODAY team live on set at The New York Public Library as part of NBC News’ 2012 “Education Nation” Summit coverage.

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 by breaking the world record for reading the same book on the same day. On October 4, 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.

“We’re so honored to have Ashanti as our 2012 Read for the Record celebrity ambassador and we admire her commitment to help Jumpstart raise awareness of the importance of high quality early education in our country,” said Naila Bolus, president and CEO of Jumpstart.

In low-income neighborhoods, children start kindergarten 60 percent behind their peers from affluent communities, leaving them woefully unprepared when it’s time to start school. When children start school behind, they are more likely to stay behind for the rest of their lives, and this gap only widens over time. In 2011 alone, Jumpstart’s Read for the Record impacted 2.2 million individuals, raising awareness of the early education crisis and Jumpstart’s mission.

“I’m really excited to participate in Read for the Record and play a role in making a positive impact in the lives of children by giving them a ‘jump start,’” said Ashanti.

Ashanti is a GRAMMY Award winning multiplatinum singer/songwriter, actor, author, Guinness Book world record holder, and currently an executive producer and co-anchor of Fuse News. Ashanti is also CEO of her own label, Written Entertainment, which, in conjunction with Fuse Studios, is producing Fuse News. In 2002, Ashanti burst onto the music scene with her smash hit debut album, self-titled Ashanti, which sold over 500,000 units in its first week and landed her the #1 spot on both the Billboard Top 200 and R&B album charts. In addition, her first three chart entries landed in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time, making Billboard history. She is currently recording her fifth studio album Braveheart. Ashanti has appeared in a number of films and television shows, including Coach Carter, John Tucker Must Die, Muppets Wizard of Oz, Resident Evil Extinction, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and American Dreams. She has also penned a book of poetry published by Hyperion Books and launched a self-titled fragrance line.

For more information about Jumpstart’s Read for the Record campaign, click here. For information on Jumpstart’s Read for the Record Fundraising Drive, click here.

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