Quest to break world record, raise literacy awareness

Released by Laura-Beth Hatem with Pearson:

AUSTIN, TX - An unprecedented number of school children across the country, including thousands of children from Texas school districts such as Houston, San Antonio, Austin, and Fort Worth will Thursday attempt to set the record for the most number of people reading the same book on the same day.

Thousands of school children in Texas classrooms and around the nation will set out to break a world record as adults collectively read the popular children's book The Very Hungry Caterpillar to more than one million children.

Research shows that poor reading skills early in a child's life contribute significantly to the widening of the achievement gap.  Children are more likely to struggle in school if they rarely or ever are read to at home.

The record-breaking reading event is intended to promote the urgent need to combat the childhood literacy crisis and demonstrate the importance of reading to young children as part of the national Jumpstart Read for the Record campaign.

"The importance of reading to young children to help them succeed in school cannot be emphasized enough," said Dr. Terry Grier, superintendent for the Houston Independent School District, the largest school system in Texas. "We're proud to partner with Pearson to get children excited about reading and smash the world record."

At schools across Texas, superintendents, school board members, public officials, parents, business executives from companies such as Pearson, and other adults will read The Very Hungry Caterpillar to children in their classrooms.

The Pearson Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Pearson "Ÿone of the world's leading education companies, is providing tens of thousands of copies of the storybook in English and Spanish and related online instructional resources such as lesson plans and classroom activities to help school districts reinforce early literacy skills for at-risk children.

The publication of The Very Hungry Caterpillar was underwritten by the Pearson Foundation, to ensure proceeds directly benefit Jumpstart's work to help close the literacy gap in low-income communities across the nation.

"The record-breaking event is intended to focus everyone's attention on the importance of reading as the foundation of all learning and resoundedly serve as a call to action to close the literacy gap," said Pearson Foundation President Mark Nieker.

For more information in Jumpstart's Read for the Record, visit or

About the Pearson Foundation
Pearson, the international education and information company, is Jumpstart's Read for the Record Sponsor and Founding Partner. 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. For more information, visit

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 Austin, 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 In addition to Education, Pearson's other major businesses include The Financial Times Group and The Penguin Group,