NYSE Closing Bell Ceremony Celebrates Corporate Support of Jumpstart's Read for the Record

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Author Eric Carle Rings The Closing Bell® with Franklin Templeton Investments, Pearson, Penguin Young Readers Group, Sodexo, and Jumpstart to Combat Literacy Crisis

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Author Eric Carle, author of the classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar, this year's official campaign book for Jumpstart's Read for the Record, joined representatives from the Franklin Templeton Investments, Pearson, Penguin Young Readers Group, Sodexo, and the non-profit Jumpstart at The Closing Bell® of the New York Stock Exchange today. The ceremony recognized the exemplary national corporate supporters of this year's Jumpstart's Read for the Record Campaign, which brings awareness to the importance of early literacy.

Presented in partnership with Pearson, Jumpstart's Read for the Record is a celebration of reading and community service to raise awareness about the importance of early literacy. On October 8, Jumpstart's Read for the Record will set a new record for the world's largest shared reading experience as adults read the same book on the same day to more than one million children around the globe. The campaign also raises funding to support Jumpstart's yearlong work with preschool children in low-income communities where Jumpstart is working toward the day all children enter school prepared to succeed.

Penguin Young Readers Group published the custom campaign book for the 2009 Read for the Record, a special, limited edition of the Philomel Books classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. The official campaign book is on sale at Walmart stores nationwide. Net proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit Jumpstart*. The book is available to donate or purchase online at http://www.readfortherecord.org. In addition, the Pearson Foundation has donated hundreds of thousands of copies of this special edition to schools and community organizations worldwide.

"This ceremony is a unique opportunity for several exemplary corporate citizens to come together and help bring necessary attention to the early literacy crisis," said Jumpstart President, James Cleveland. "Their unwavering support of Jumpstart's Read for the Record is an inspiring example to corporate America."

"I believe that children are naturally creative and eager to learn, which is why it is important that we support that natural tendency through early reading experiences," said children's author, Eric Carle. "I am honored to have The Very Hungry Caterpillar featured in Jumpstart's Read for the Record, a campaign that will help put a book into the hands of the children that need it the most and raise crucial awareness about the importance of reading to young children. It is wonderful to think that my book may be the one that makes a difference in a child's early development."

"Jumpstart is making a tremendous difference in children's lives each and every day, while also helping to train future teachers," said Vijay C. Andavi, Executive Vice President, Global Distribution, Franklin Templeton Investments. "Read for the Record is a unique day that reminds all of us about the importance of reading with children. As the children learn about The Very Hungry Caterpillar, we hope that the book whets their appetite for the joy of reading. This will be the fourth year that Franklin Templeton's involved volunteers have participated in the event, and year after year, everyone raves about the experience and the critical purpose it serves. We look forward to setting a new world record again tomorrow."

"Eric Carle's classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar has inspired a love of reading in millions of children and is often the first book a child receives," said Don Weisberg, President of Penguin Young Readers Group. "This beloved classic is an ideal selection for Jumpstart's Read for the Record campaign, which will help a whole new audience begin a lifelong love of reading. Since its inception Jumpstart has helped distribute over one million books to children in need and Penguin is proud to be its partner."

"Pearson people and businesses around the world are again taking part in this celebration of reading and literacy," said Bill Barke, CEO, Pearson's Higher Ed Arts & Sciences Group. "Again this year, they've got great company: The Campaign's exemplary corporate partners are helping to ensure this year's event is bigger, and more successful, than ever. In the process, we're helping to raise money for Jumpstart's important work in classrooms all year round."

"Ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange is a great reminder that the investment in the education of our nation's children is one that always offers a guaranteed return, year after year," said Stephen J. Brady, president of the Sodexo Foundation. "Encouraging millions of young people to read helps to improve early education, close the achievement gap, and narrow potential social and economic disparities."

Over the past three years, Jumpstart's Read for the Record has raised more than $3 million to support Jumpstart's mission of ensuring that every child enters school prepared to succeed, and more than 500,000 books have been donated to children in need. Franklin Templeton Investments, Pearson, Penguin Young Readers Group, and Sodexo and are joined in supporting this campaign by Jumpstart's national corporate partner, American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE: AEO) and official retail partner, Walmart (NYSE: WMT).

Visit http://www.readfortherecord.org to pledge to read and learn more about Jumpstart's Read for the Record. Visit http://www.jstart.org for more information about Jumpstart's corporate partners and sponsors.

  • A minimum of $1.00 (12.5% of the retail price) for each book purchased.

About Jumpstart
Jumpstart is a national early education organization that works toward the day every child in America enters school prepared to succeed. To cultivate a child's social, emotional and intellectual readiness, Jumpstart brings college students and community volunteers together with preschool children for year long, individualized tutoring and mentoring. Since 1993, more than 70,000 preschool children across America have benefited from millions of hours of Jumpstart service. Jumpstart's national sponsors include American Eagle Outfitters, AmeriCorps, Pearson, Sodexo and Starbucks. Jumpstart is the five-time recipient of the Fast Company/Monitor Social Capitalist Award (2004-2008) and has received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. For more information, visit the Jumpstart Web site at http://www.jstart.org.

About Franklin Templeton Investments
Franklin Resources, Inc. (NYSE: BEN), is a global investment management organization known as Franklin Templeton Investments. They offer investment solutions under the Franklin, Templeton, Mutual Series, Bissett, Fiduciary Trust and Darby Overseas names. They manage investment vehicles for individuals, institutions, pension plans, trusts, partnerships and other clients. Franklin Templeton supports Jumpstart by printing recruitment and training materials as well as select marketing collateral. These materials are utilized to recruit and train college students and community volunteers to work with preschool children in low-income communities to help them gain crucial early literacy skills.

About Pearson
Pearson (NYSE: PSO), the global leader in education and education technology, is Jumpstart's Read for the Record Sponsor and Founding Partner. Pearson's primary businesses include the Pearson Education, the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group. 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. For more information, visit http://www.pearson.com

About Penguin Young Readers Group
Penguin Young Readers Group includes such preeminent imprints as Dial Books, Dutton, Grosset & Dunlap, Philomel, Puffin, Speak, Firebird, G. P. Putnam's Sons, Viking, Razorbill and Frederick Warne. These imprints are home to such award-winning, New York Times- bestselling authors as Eric Carle, Laurie Halse Anderson, Judy Blume, Jan Brett, Roald Dahl, Tomie dePaola, Sarah Dessen, Eric Hill, Anthony Horowitz, Brian Jacques, Mike Lupica, Richard Peck, and dozens of other popular authors. Penguin Young Readers Group is also the proud publisher of perennial brand franchises such as The Little Engine That Could, the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series, Peter Rabbit, Spot, the Classic Winnie the Pooh, the Very Hungry Caterpillar, Madeline, Mad Libs, Skippyjon Jones, Flower Fairies, and Pippi Longstocking, among many others.

About Sodexo
Sodexo, Inc. (http://www.sodexoUSA.com) is a leading integrated facilities management services company in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, with $7.7 billion (USD) in annual revenue and 120,000 employees. Sodexo serves more than ten million customers daily in corporations, health care, long term care and retirement centers, schools, college campuses, government, and remote sites. Sodexo, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., is a member of Sodexo Group, and funds all administrative costs for the Sodexo Foundation (http://www.SodexoFoundation.org), an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $11 million in grants to fight hunger in America.
Visit the corporate blog at http://www.sodexoUSA.com/blog.

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