NEW YORK, May 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
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Today, Scholastic (NASDAQ: SCHL) announces the launch of the 2014 Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge, a free, global reading program that motivates children to read throughout the out-of-school summer months by logging their reading minutes, and earning rewards, with the goal of setting a new world record for summer reading. Last year's participants set the world record of 176,438,473 minutes read. Teachers, schools and families can register their children in grades K-8 starting today at scholastic.com/summer and children can log minutes from today through September 5th, 2014.
The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge was created to give schools and families a free and engaging way to encourage more children to read during the summer and prevent the 'summer slide'– the learning losses that set children back academically when they do not read during the out-of-school summer months. Children sign-up to read on behalf of their school and the schools compete to win top prizes. The top elementary school with the most minutes read will win a visit from bestselling author-illustrator David Shannon (Bugs in My Hair!) and the top middle school will win a visit from bestselling author Gordon Korman (The Hypnotists). The top 20 U.S. schools with the most reading minutes recorded by September 5th will be featured in the 2015 Scholastic Book of World Records.
This year's Summer Reading theme is Reading Under the Stars, and is powered by EVEREADY®, the maker of batteries and flashlights, to encourage families to discover new and fun ways to explore reading outside this summer. Reading Under the Stars comes to life for children online as they enter reading minutes and, throughout the summer, the site will unlock interactive star constellations containing special video messages from NASA astronaut Leland Melvin. Children will also have the opportunity to take an extra "Chapter Challenge" and learn more about space from Pascal Lee, a planetary scientist from the SETI and Mars Institute and author of Mission: Mars. Parents can support their child's reading all summer with the free "Reading Under the Stars Guide," which includes summer reading book lists, curated by Scholastic experts, Read Under the Stars videos, expert articles, tips and family activities.
"We know that the more children read, the more they succeed and time spent with books is especially important during the summer months so students return to school ready to tackle more challenging texts," said Francie Alexander, Chief Academic Officer at Scholastic, the global children's publishing, education and media company. "In the summer, we want our kids finding books that fit their personal interests because those are the books that will make them fall in love with reading. Being part of the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge motivates kids to build up their reading minutes and earn rewards, while parents and teachers can monitor progress. Everybody wins!"
Here are ways parents, children and educators can get involved in the 2014 Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge.
- Facebook calendar app and live chats: Parents can find something every day on the Scholastic Parents Facebook including a summer calendar app with expert tips and articles and activities. Every Friday, parents can enter for the chance to win an EVEREADY® "Reading Under the Stars" prize pack including a picnic blanket, EVEREADY® flashlights and headlamps and EVEREADY® Gold® batteries. Plus, parents can join "Book Swap" live chats all summer with top parenting and reading experts.
- The first live chat will be hosted by Lori Ess, Associate Director of Title Presentation, Scholastic, and Betsy Bird, Youth Materials Collections Specialist New York Public Library, tonight, May 5th at 9 p.m. ET.
- Reading minutes mobile app: Parents can monitor their children's progress and help their children enter minutes on-the-go via mobile on the Scholastic Reading Timer app.
- 2014 summer book list: Curated by Scholastic experts, this list features more than 700 books for children in Pre-K–8, including this year's "Reading Under the Stars" themed list, which showcases books about space, stars and astronomy, as well as spooky stories to read by a campfire.
- EVEREADY® free book on pack program – Parents can receive a free Scholastic book by mail when they buy two specially marked packs of EVEREADY® Gold® batteries or EVEREADY® flashlights and redeem the package codes online. Visit eveready.com/reader to learn more.
- Events at museums and planetariums: Special "Reading Under the Stars"–inspired overnight events with free books, EVEREADY® flashlights and activity sheets for attendees. Events will take place at planetariums and museums across the country including:
- Carnegie Science Center "Science Sleepovers" (Pittsburgh, PA, May 9)
- Milwaukee Public Museum "Overnights" (Milwaukee, WI, May 16)
- The Smithsonian: National Museum of Natural History "Smithsonian Sleepovers" (Washington, D.C., May 17)
- Adler Planetarium "Astro Overnights" (Chicago, IL June 6)
- California Academy of Sciences "Penguins + Pajamas" (San Francisco, CA, June 13)
- Reading rewards & prizes: Throughout the summer, children who join the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge read to earn digital badges and take the extra Chapter Challenge and win a chapter from a favorite book. Elementary school readers will win weekly chapters that make up a full Geronimo Stilton: Mini-Mystery book. Middle School readers will win weekly chapters from a variety of bestselling titles including The 39 Clues®, Spirit Animals™ and more.
- Monthly sweepstakes: Once children log minutes, they will have the opportunity to enter for a chance to win Ricky Ricotta series books, a Harry Potter paperback box set, Jedi Academy series books, and a multiplatform prize pack (The 39 Clues Book 1: Maze of Bones, Infinity Ring Book 1: Mutiny in Time, Spirit Animals Book 1: Wild Born).
- Virtual map: Children can track their school (and any other participating school) to see how many minutes have been read and keep tabs on which schools are in the lead.
- Educator dashboard: Teachers can register up to 100 students and track their reading throughout the summer. Teachers who register by June 30th can enter a sweepstakes for the chance to win a Scholastic classroom library.
- Emails to parents: The educator dashboard provides automatic emails for teachers to send to all their students' parents to ensure children are entering their reading minutes all summer, when they are out of school. Emails are available in English and Spanish.
- Free resources in English and Spanish: Teachers can access bi-lingual information including: letters to parents, printable activity sheets, reading logs and reading certificates in addition to videos for parents.
To support the students in their states and encourage summer reading throughout America, many of the U.S. Governors and Governors' spouses are joining Scholastic as "Reading Ambassadors" for the 2014 Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge. The 2014 Reading Ambassadors, whose names will be announced soon, will host summer reading events at schools in their respective states, and, in honor of each Reading Ambassador, Scholastic is donating 500 books to the school of their choice.
For more information about Scholastic and the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge, please visit the Scholastic media room.
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SOURCE Scholastic Inc.