Illinois Children 'Read for the Record' and Raise Awareness About Early Education Crisis

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Pearson Volunteers Help Raise $1.5 Million and Break World Record.

Research tell us that the strongest indicator of future reading ability is the number of books children have at home. Children in low-income communities may not even have one book at home while middle and higher-income families often have 50 or more children's books.

The beloved children's classic - the story of the teddy bear Corduroy -- took center stage as Illinois children and volunteers from Pearson, the world's leading education publisher, joined readers of all ages to make history in Jumpstart's third annual Read for the Record® on Oct. 2nd. The campaign created the world's largest shared reading experience, while breaking the record for the number of people reading the same book on the same day all across America. With entries still being tabulated today from all 50 states, Illinois has helped create a new world reading record.

Pearson, the sponsor of Read for the Record events across Illinois, employs 622 people across the state, 509 in its Glenview office.

The Pearson Foundation, the Campaign's National Sponsor and Founding Partner, and Pearson staffers across the US helped to raise more than $1.5 million for Jumpstart's early education programs in low-income communities. More than 200,000 copies of Corduroy were to at-risk children throughout the country. Penguin Young Readers is the publisher of the official Read for the Record Campaign Book, Corduroy by Don Freeman, celebrating its 40th anniversary in print this year.

Volunteers from Pearson's Glenview and Chicago locations participated in the morning's kickoff event at Chicago's Harold Washington Public Library, reading to hundreds of children and engaging in literacy-based activities, including making personalized "My ABC" books with preschool children.

Jumpstart's Read for the Record day began early last Thursday with Matt Lauer of NBC's TODAY SHOW introducing First Lady Laura Bush reading with school children at the White House. TODAY Show interviews with Pearson Foundation President Mark Nieker and Jumpstart President James Cleveland drew attention to the critical issues around early education in America, noting that each year one-third of America's children arrive at their first day of school developmentally behind their peers and without the skills necessary to succeed. Lauer, who along with co-host Meredith Vieira wrote the introduction to the special Read for the Record edition of Corduroy, read to children on Rockefeller Plaza along with Jumpstart Honorary Spokesperson LL Cool J, Jesse McCartney, Greg Kinnear, Maria from Sesame Street and Mary-Louise Parker. Children's author and the Library of Congress' National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Jon Scieszka, helped kick off the day as thousands of reading events took place across the country.

The publication of the Campaign's official book was underwritten by the Pearson Foundation, ensuring that 100% of the proceeds directly benefit Jumpstart's work with at-risk children. Additionally, each book purchased online was matched with a donation from the Pearson Foundation to support Jumpstart's early education programs for children in low-income communities across the nation.

Pearson Foundation President Mark Nieker said, "Research tell us that the strongest indicator of future reading ability is the number of books children have at home. Children in low-income communities may not even have one book at home while middle and higher-income families often have 50 or more children's books." He added, "The continued involvement of our 20,000 Pearson people across the country is critical for building on the success of the Campaign and helping to raise awareness about this troubling disparity. Pearson recognizes the importance of Jumpstart's Read for the Record in donating books to the children who need them most and focusing a national spotlight on a problem that we think is entirely solvable."

For more information on Pearson's involvement in Jumpstart's Read for the Record across the country and around the globe, 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. Pearson is a long-time supporter of Jumpstart. Jumpstart and Pearson were recognized for their collaboration with the 2006 Cause Marketing Halo Award and with Boston Business Journal's 2008 Corporate Philanthropy Award for Education Partner of the Year. For more information, visit

About Pearson:
Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the global leader in education and education technology, reaches and engages today's digital natives with effective and personalized learning, as well as dedicated professional development for their teachers. This commitment is demonstrated in the company's investment in innovative print and digital education materials for preK through college, student information systems and learning management systems, teacher professional development, career certification programs, and testing and assessment products that set the standard for the industry. The company's respected brands include Scott Foresman, Prentice Hall, Addison Wesley, Benjamin Cummings, PEMSolutions, Stanford 10, SuccessNet, MyLabs, PowerSchool, SuccessMaker and many others. Pearson's comprehensive offerings help inform targeted instruction and intervention so that success is within reach of every student at every level of education. Pearson's commitment to education for all is supported by the global philanthropic initiatives of the Pearson Foundation. Pearson's other primary businesses include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group. For more information, go to

About Jumpstart:
Jumpstart is a national early education organization that works toward the day every child in America enters school prepared to succeed. Through extraordinary attention in yearlong one-to-one relationships, Jumpstart inspires children to learn, adults to teach, families to get involved, and communities to progress together. Headquartered in Boston, Jumpstart pairs 4,000 trained adults one-to-one with preschool children in need of assistance. During the 2008-2009 program year, Jumpstart is serving 15,000 children across 20 states, in partnership with 300 early learning centers and nearly 74 universities and colleges throughout the country.

Jumpstart's national sponsors include American Eagle Outfitters, AmeriCorps, Pearson, Sodexo and Starbucks. Jumpstart is the recipient of the Fast Company/Monitor Social Capitalist Award (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008) and the Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy's Directors Award. For more information, visit the Jumpstart Web site at


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