Contact: Matt Raymond, Library of Congress (202) 707-0020
Contact: Press Office, Ad Council, news@adcouncil.org
Contact: Ryan Moore, NBCU, (818) 777-3462
Website: Read.gov

August 3, 2010

Library of Congress and Ad Council Launch New PSAs to Encourage Parents to Read with Their Children

Campaign Features Iconic Children's Character Curious George

The Library of Congress and the Advertising Council have launched a new series of public service advertisements (PSAs) to encourage parents to read with their children and inspire them to become lifelong learners.

Research conducted by Florida State University revealed that when parents become involved in their children’s literacy practices, children improve in reading achievement, language comprehension and expressive language skills. Additionally, an overall increase in parental involvement in a child’s reading makes children more willing to read. When parents and children read together, it also increases the frequency of a child’s reading.

The new PSAs feature the iconic children’s literary character Curious George. The television, print and outdoor advertisements feature George and his best friend and mentor, "The Man with the Yellow Hat," reading books together. These PSAs encourage parents to "Read to your child today and inspire a lifelong love of reading."

"There is no more important influence in instilling a lifelong love of reading in a child than his or her parent or caregiver," said Deanna Marcum, associate librarian for library services at the Library of Congress. "The Library of Congress is pleased to work with the Ad Council to champion such an important cause, which inspires curiosity and creativity in young people, who then grow up to become better informed and engaged citizens."

The new PSAs are launching to coincide with children’s summer vacations. A study conducted by The Center for Evaluation, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, suggests that having elementary school students read four or five books during the summer can prevent the reading achievement losses that normally occur during those months.

"The new PSAs are so smart and entertaining for parents and children," said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Advertising Council. "Curious George is a timeless character that both children and parents can relate to, which makes reading together more enjoyable. The Ad Council truly values its relationship with the Library of Congress on this campaign and together we are dedicated to inspiring children to become lifelong learners through reading."

The campaign, created in partnership with Universal Partnerships & Licensing and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, encourages parents and kids to visit Read.gov as a source for discovery, learning, family fun, and to experience the joy of reading.

"As one of literature’s most beloved characters, Curious George has a powerful ability to link generations," said President of Universal Pictures Partnerships & Licensing Stephanie Sperber. "Universal is thrilled that the Library of Congress and the Ad Council have selected Curious George to promote and inspire the love of reading for children and parents everywhere through this important initiative."

The "Curious George" effort is supplemental to an existing campaign targeted at "tweens" originally launched in 2000 that aims to inspire young readers to become lifelong readers. The objective of the campaign is to inspire fun and promote literacy in all types of learning. From books to magazines to comics, and in all its other forms, reading gives kids an opportunity to explore their imaginations, and "Explore New Worlds."

The PSAs also direct tweens to a website that features the Library of Congress’s serialized story The Exquisite Corpse Adventure. The adventure is written by many well-known children’s authors—including Jon Scieszka and Kate DiCamillo. Each author tells part of the story for two weeks before the story is given to a different author. A new episode is published every two weeks for a year. Each episode also features the work of award-winning children's illustrators. Between episodes, kids are encouraged to play The Exquisite Corpse Brain Game, which tests them on what they have read in the past and lets them predict what will happen in the future.

About Curious George
Curious George was published by Houghton Mifflin in 1941 and for 70 years he has been capturing the hearts and minds of readers young and old throughout the world. All the Curious George books, including the seven original stories by Margret and Hans Rey, have sold more than 60 million copies. So popular that his original story has never been out of print, George has become one of the most beloved and most recognizable characters in children’s literature. In addition to the numerous books about his mischievous adventures, Curious George stars in the Emmy-award winning PBS KIDS television series Curious George and has also starred in two full-length movies, Curious George and Curious George 2: Follow that Monkey! For more information, visit www.curiousgeorge.com (external link).

Universal Partnerships & Licensing
UP&L oversees Universal’s consumer product licensing, film and home-entertainment promotions, and all corporate alliances for Universal’s theatrical, home entertainment, theme parks and stage productions. This dedicated division is also responsible for monetizing the Studio’s vast library of films and characters through licensing, branding and marketing opportunities. UP&L is part of NBC Universal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80 percent-owned by General Electric, with 20 percent owned by Vivendi.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
Boston-based Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company is a global education leader and the world’s largest publisher of educational materials for pre-K–12 schools. The company publishes a comprehensive set of best-in-class educational solutions, ranging from research-based textbook programs to instructional technology to standards-based assessments for students and educators. The company also publishes an extensive line of reference works and award-winning literature for adults and young readers. With origins dating back to 1832, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt combines its tradition of excellence with a commitment to innovation. To learn more about Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, visit www.hmhpub.com (external link).

The Advertising Council
The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organization with a rich history of marshaling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messages to the American public. Having produced literally thousands of PSA campaigns addressing the most pressing social issues of the day, the Ad Council has affected, and continues to affect, tremendous positive change by raising awareness, inspiring action and saving lives. To learn more about the Ad Council and its campaigns, visit www.adcouncil.org (external link).

The Library of Congress
Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. It seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at myLOC.gov.

Curious George and related characters, created by Margret and H.A. Rey, are copyrighted and trademarked by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company and used under license. Licensed by Universal Studios Licensing LLLP. Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

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PR 10-180
08/03/10
ISSN 0731-3527

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