Texas 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 Texas 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, Texas has helped create a new world reading record.

Pearson, the sponsor of Read for the Record events across Texas, employs 2000 people in the state - through its San Antonio Assessment & Information Group, its Operations Center in Austin, through its Pearson School offices in Coppell, and representatives statewide.

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 donated this past week 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.

At Villareal Elementary School, Pearson volunteers read to more than 400 kindergartners. Bilingual staffers helped lead the Spanish-speaking afternoon kindergarten section, and fifth graders who speak Spanish served as guest readers for the kindergarteners. Several of the Pearson employee volunteers are e-pen pals with students in older grades at Villareal. Pearson employees also helped out at Any Baby Can (ABC), a local organization providing services to families with special needs in San Antonio. Children received copies of Corduroy to take home and share with their families.

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 http://www.pearsonfoundation.org.

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 http://www.pearsonfoundation.org.

About Pearson and Texas:
Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the world's leading education publisher, has been providing education materials to Texas schools as far back as the 1800s. You may know us individually as Scott Foresman, Prentice Hall, Longman, SuccessMaker, NovaNet, PowerSchool, Educational Measurement, Educational Assessment, SuccessNet, Learning Teams, and so many more - names in the world of education that are recognized and respected across the State and the globe. In fact, most teachers in Texas have learned their profession by studying with Pearson's Merrill or Allyn & Bacon textbooks, and many have benefited from our professional development programs. We provide education and testing materials from birth through professional learning as well as the school systems that maintain student information data for thousands of schools. Our business offices are located in Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio, but our 2,000 Pearson people are living and working in every school district across the State. Whether in reading, language arts, science, math, social studies, music, English as a second language, foreign languages, or AP courses, hundreds of thousands of Texas's preK through college students are learning with our Pearson products every day. For more information, go to http://www.pearsonschool.com. In addition to Education, Pearson's other major businesses include The Financial Times Group and The Penguin Group, http://www.pearson.com.

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 http://www.jstart.org.

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Stacey Finkel
Pearson
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