National reading event promotes literacy

Best-selling suspense author Ridley Pearson will read the children’s book “The Story of Ferdinand” — the official campaign book for Jumpstart’s “Read for the Record” — at 4 p.m. Sept. 20, in the University’s Campus Store on the Danforth Campus.

The national campaign is designed to encourage hundreds of thousands of children and adults from across the country to read the same book on the same day.

Pearson joins many other celebrities reading in communities across America in an effort to raise public awareness about significant disparities in early education. The “Today” show hosts Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira plan to read “The Story of Ferdinand” in a live broadcast from Rockefeller Center this morning. The goal is to break the record for the largest shared reading experience, set by 150,000 people Aug. 24, 2006, during the inaugural year of Jumpstart’s “Read for the Record” campaign.

Jumpstart, an organization with campus chapters nationwide, is dedicated to bringing at-risk children, their parents and concerned adults together to promote childhood literacy. The organization intervenes early in these children’s lives, pairing them one-to-one with trained college students to help build their literacy, language and social skills, so they will enter kindergarten as prepared to learn as their more affluent peers.

Copies of “The Story of Ferdinand” will be available for sale at the Campus Store, with proceeds supporting Jumpstart’s work.

“The Story of Ferdinand” is the best-known work written by American author Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson. The children’s book tells the story of a bull that would rather smell flowers than fight in bullfights.

For more information, contact the Campus Store at 935-5667.