The children in the Mississippi University for Women’s School of Education’s Child & Parent Development Center will try to break a record Thursday, Oct. 27.

At 9 a.m., the CPDC children will participate in the world’s largest shared reading experience as part of Jumpstart’s “Read for the Record,” which celebrates children’s early language and social-emotional development.

“Read for the Record” started more than a decade ago to bring attention to high-quality learning. The event has grown into a global effort that engages millions of children and adults in a shared reading experience. This year’s special edition storybook that is exclusively available through Jumpstart is “Nigel and the Moon,” by Antwan Eady and illustrated by Gracey Zhang. The book is about a young boy who dreams big but is too scared to share his dreams with the world.

Rose Ford, an instructor and Jumpstart program site manager at The W’s School of Education, said the book encourages children to celebrate where they come from, who they are and who they are meant to be.

“This global campaign increases awareness about the critical importance of early literacy and makes high-quality diverse books accessible to children in underserved communities or families,” Ford said.

Dr. Catherine Cotton, an assistant professor of speech-language pathology at The W, will be the university’s special reader. Ford said Cotton’s contribution will continue the long line of support that has seen The W President Nora Miller, Dr. Marty Brock and many other university faculty members participate.

“We will help build their language skills by teaching children rich vocabulary selected from the storybook,” Ford said. “We will keep the dreams going by making superhero capes to represent who they are and who they want to become. We will design moon rocks to hold when we feel nervous or upset to build social-emotional skills.

“CPDC children and MUW Jumpstart members also will use the book to honor the diversity in our community and world, celebrate pride in where we come from and uplift the essential workers in our communities.”

Jumpstart is a national early education organization working toward the day every child in the United States enters kindergarten prepared to succeed. Ford said Jumpstart will provide CPDC teachers and children’s families with resource guides for follow-up activities after “Read for the Record.” She also said The W’s Jumpstart Corps members will engage with children following the event to extend their learning.

This year’s event Literacy Champions are Nigel Barker, Monique Coleman and Ashanti. Barker is an English reality TV show personality, fashion photographer, author, spokesperson, filmmaker and former model. Coleman is an American actress best known for her role in Disney’s High School Musical movies. Ashanti is an American singer.

Other sponsors and partners include TJX, Franklin Templeton, Lego, First Book, Novel Effect, Ferst Readers and more. All proceeds from “Read for the Record” support Jumpstart’s work to increase early education access for young children in underserved communities. Jumpstart delivers research-backed programming directly to children; works to grow and train the next generation of early childhood educators; and advocates for more equitable policies in the early education sector.  

If you want to read more about this experience, please visit

Oct. 25, 2022
Contact: Adam Minichino
(662) 329-1976

About The W

Located in historic Columbus, Mississippi, The W was founded in 1884 as the first state-supported college for women in the United States. Today, the university is home to 2,227 students in more than 70 majors and concentrations and has educated men for 40 years. The university is nationally recognized for low student debt, diversity and social mobility which empowers students to BE BOLD.

Be Bold. Tower with Blue.