Jumpstart eyes a new shared reading record and an end to the achievement gap
We’ve talked about the importance of reading with your kids and serving as models for lifelong learning. Research continues to highlight the value of the shared practice for developing their literacy skills, preparing them for elementary school and the world beyond. For kids in low-income neighborhoods, the early reading and engagement with a parent can be the difference between struggling in school and achieving success. Unfortunately, too many children still lack access to books and other learning resources that can prepare them for education and life.
One organization working to change that is Jumpstart. Led by Naila Bolus, Jumpstart is a national organization that encourages literacy development by training college students and community volunteers to serve children in low-income communities. In this way, Jumpstart has reached hundreds of thousands of kids since its founding. The organization also promotes kindergarten readiness and learning through national outreach campaigns like Read for the Record, now in its seventh year.
Jumpstart announced the kick-off of its 2012 Read for the Record campaign on October 4 and is hosting nearly 250 events nationwide to set a new reading record. The annual celebration of literacy and learning brings together millions of readers—moms, dads, civic leaders, teachers, and students—who read the same book on the same day. The 2011 Read for the Record campaign set a mark of 2.2 million readers.
The effort highlights the country’s education achievement gap and the work of organizations like Jumpstart to improve it. Read for the Record is presented in partnership with We Give Books, a Pearson Foundation initiative, which provides children’s books to its partner organizations and makes reading possible for millions of others by hosting free books online thanks to the Penguin Group. (Reminder here, the Pearson Foundation also publishes LEARNING STARTS.)
This year, young readers in preschools, libraries, and community organizations all over the country, along with so many others at home and online, are reading the children’s book Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad, by David Soman and Jacky Davis. If you don’t have a copy in your home library, the book can be read online for free.
Since 2006, Read for the Record has engaged 7 million children, raised more than $7 million for early education programs, and provided more than 1 million books for children in low-income neighborhoods, where kids start kindergarten 60 percent behind their peers from more affluent communities.