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    (9/17/2007) Engaging New Haven to Help Make Early Education a National Priority

    September 17, 2007-- Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. celebrates Jumpstart’s Read for the Record, a national campaign designed to encourage hundreds of thousands of children and adults from across the country to read the same book on the same day. Mayor DeStefano will support this campaign at noon on September 20 by reading the book, “Ferdinand the Bull” to Pre-K students at Nathan Hale Elementary School, 480 Townsend Ave.

    Simultaneously across the New Haven Public Schools, all 89 Pre-K classrooms, enrolling 1,800 students, will celebrate the day by reading the same book.

    “One-third of American children enter kindergarten developmentally behind their peers and without the skills necessary to succeed at grade level,” said DeStefano. “This isn’t just a problem for these children and their families; it is an issue of national concern. In New Haven we’ve demonstrated our commitment to early education by developing a strong Pre-K program and creating opportunities for our children to begin their academic and social development at very young ages to give them an advantage once they reach kindergarten.”

    The Mayor encourages readers of all ages to visit www.readfortherecord.org and pledge to read the campaign’s official book, The Story of Ferdinand, on September 20.

    This is why Jumpstart – a national nonprofit organization focused on intervening early in the lives of at-risk children, through intensive early education programs – has created a way for every adult and every child across the country to raise public awareness about the early education gap that exists between income levels. In addition to awareness, Jumpstart’s campaign will raise funds to support the organization’s programs, which serve preschool children from more than 60 low-income communities across 20 states.

    The 2007 campaign strives to set another Guinness World Record™ by creating the largest “shared reading experience” ever for the number of adults and children reading the same book on the same day, Thursday, September 20, 2007, across the country. While setting a world record is an exciting goal, the real purpose of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record Campaign is to generate public awareness about the importance of early childhood education. Shared reading experiences can range from an adult and child reading in their home to big group events with hundreds of people gathering at public facilities for large community reading sessions. Last year, Jumpstart’s Read for the Record raised more than $500,000 to directly support and expand the organization’s early education work in low-income communities.


    The goal of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record campaign is to raise public awareness about significant disparities in early education. We need everyone to know that an early learning gap exists as early as age 3, due primarily to economic inequality. And because of these early discrepancies in language acquisition and literacy skills, one third of America’s children arrive at their first day of school unprepared to learn. Awareness about this issue is crucial, as this early learning disparity serves as a critical precursor to our country’s persistent educational achievement gap.

    Through this campaign, Jumpstart and its partners, Pearson and its businesses – Pearson Education, The Financial Times and Penguin USA, American Eagle Outfitters, Pearson, Sodexho, Bright Horizons, Hanna Andersson, Hyatt Hotels, NBC, and Toys “R” Us - are asking Americans to support early education opportunities for all children by reading the official campaign book, The Story of Ferdinand, together on September 20, 2007 to break the record for the largest shared reading experience ever, which was set by 150,000 people on August 24, 2006 during the inaugural year of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record campaign.


    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 currently engages 3,100 adults as mentors to nearly 12,000 children, operates in 64 communities, in 20 states and serves 225 Head Start and other early learning centers across the country. Jumpstart’s national sponsors include American Eagle Outfitters, AmeriCorps, Pearson, Sodexho, and Starbucks. Jumpstart is the recipient of the Fast Company/Monitor Social Capitalist Award (2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007) and the Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy’s Directors Award. For more information, visit the Jumpstart Web site at www.jstart.org. For more information about Jumpstart’s Read for the Record campaign, visit www.readfortherecord.org.

    # # #

    Contact Name: Jessica Mayorga

    Contact Email: jmayorga@newhavenct.net

    Contact Phone: 203-946-7660

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