Why We Read for the Record

Jumpstart’s annual Read for the Record campaign raises awareness about the importance of children having access to early literacy education and quality, inclusive books. Jumpstart uplifts this mission through a global shared reading of the same book on the same day, bringing together a community of over 2 million readers. When you Read for the Record, you too are elevating the mission that all children deserve the chance to learn to read in nurturing environments that celebrate their diverse experiences.  

In supporting Read for the Record, you are also supporting Jumpstart’s mission to provide quality early education for all children. Read for the Record follows the same principle as our school-year program, which involves providing 40+ hours of training to college students who then serve 200-300 hours hands-on with preschool children in classrooms, supporting their literacy and social-emotional development. Jumpstart’s proven curriculum is centered on the fact that shared reading of books with children is foundational to future academic success.  

Language skills, particularly oral language skills such as knowledge about stories, the meaning of words, and how language works, are foundational for a child to be developmentally ready to learn to read in elementary school. Unfortunately, many underserved school districts face obstacles such as a low adult-to-child ratio and a lack of resources in PreK classrooms, meaning not all children get access to the quality education they deserve. This disparity can impact their future academic success. Increasing support and resources to low-income, underserved communities can correct existing disparities in access to education. Thankfully, shared reading with children on a consistent basis before they enter kindergarten can help close this gap, setting them up to learn to read in elementary school.  

Jumpstart focuses its efforts on classrooms where at least 75% of children are from households that qualify for free/reduced-price lunches, providing our services where they are most needed. In the 2022-2023 academic year, Jumpstart trained 2,269 college students who supported 7,869 preschool children in classrooms and 4,430 in the community. Two out of three children made literacy gains beyond what would be expected given typical age-related development, and these gains were 1.5 times greater than those of their non-Jumpstart participating peers.  

At Jumpstart, we intentionally select our curriculum and Read for the Record books to include inclusive stories representing diverse identities. This helps ensure that children gain the benefits of learning about their own and other’s experiences. A large percentage of families that participate in Jumpstart’s programming and the Read for the Record celebration are native to parts of the world other than the U.S. Year round, Jumpstart advocates for all children to have equitable access to early care and education. We hope that this year’s selection will provide children and families with connection, inspiration, and understanding.   

This year, on October 24th, 2024, we will read the book Piper Chen Sings by Phillipa Soo (award winning actress and singer from “Hamilton”) and Maris Pasquale Doran and illustrated by Qin Leng. Published by Random House Children’s Books, Piper Chen Sings is a timeless story of overcoming self-doubt. The story shows how building emotional awareness and embracing nervousness can reduce anxiety, a lesson Piper Chen learns from her Nai Nai’s (grandmother’s) life story. It celebrates the importance of empowering intergenerational relationships and self-expression 

Jumpstart’s team works with our publishing partner, Random House, to create a special, affordable paperback edition of the book, and we work with our incredible sponsors and partners to get books in the hands of children who would not otherwise be able to access them. Books are available in English and Spanish.   

Over the past 19 years, more than 28 million people have participated in Read for the Record, and we have distributed hundreds of thousands of books to children in underserved communities in the United States. Last year, 2.2 million people participated. Let’s break that record together!  

Learn more about this year’s event HERE and order your copies of Piper Chen Sings TODAY.

Piper Chen Sings
Phillipa Soo

Together, we can help all children build the key language and literacy skills they need to take on the world.

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