27 Sep, 2021, 12:06 ET
NEW YORK, Sept. 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Scholastic Book Clubs announced today the launch of The United States of Readers™, a first-of-its-kind classroom program dedicated to bridging the gap of literacy inequity. Created by Scholastic Book Clubs and funded in its pilot year with a $1.5 million donation from bestselling author and literacy advocate James Patterson, The United States of Readers will provide 32,000 pre-K to 8 students in 1,500 classrooms from all 50 states, as well as D.C. and Puerto Rico, with increased access to books. The participating schools represent rural, suburban and urban areas, are all at least 75% Title I, and do not currently participate in Scholastic Book Clubs. Patterson's $1.5 million donation to sponsor The United States of Readers' inaugural year adds to the $11 million he has already donated to teachers and schools through Scholastic Book Clubs since 2015.
Identical to the original Clubs model—including teacher administration of the program, delivery to the classroom, and the large variety of quality, diverse, kid-appealing books available to all grade levels—The United States of Readers' flyers will be missing one thing: prices listed for the books. Without prices, the program guarantees every child an opportunity to participate, choosing two books they want to read and personally own, five times a year at no cost to students, families or schools.
To learn more about United States of Readers, visit: https://unitedstatesofreaders.scholastic.com/
"At Scholastic Book Clubs, we have been working with classroom teachers in every state in the country for decades, and are proud of how our book order forms have created an affordable way to reach kids with the books they want to read," said Judy Newman, President and Reader-in-Chief of Scholastic Book Clubs. "It's become increasingly clear, however, that in so many communities around the country even our affordable offerings are out of reach for some families, and teachers are having to pay for the books themselves. We knew we needed to come up with an alternative to our tried and true model, because every child needs to be able to choose and own books, and see themselves as a reader! The United States of Readers does just that. Thanks to the incredible James Patterson, who so generously funded the pilot year of the program in its entirety, The United States of Readers is full of the best books and supporting materials for kids and their families, and provides an engaging community for all participants. With the United States of Readers, teachers can administer the program with confidence knowing they can truly make literacy and book ownership attainable goals for every student in their class."
According to the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report: 7th Edition, kids who are frequent readers have nearly twice the number of books in their home libraries as infrequent readers, with a similar inequity between high- and low-income families. The United States of Readers marks an evolution in Scholastic Book Clubs' ongoing partnership with author James Patterson by directly growing home libraries. Committed to developing literacy throughout his career, Patterson shares the same belief as Scholastic Book Clubs: that every child can become a reader and that every reader should have access to great books of their choice. Partnering with Scholastic Book Clubs over the past seven years has allowed classrooms across the country to grow their libraries and support students who struggle with literacy.
James Patterson said, "I've been working my entire career to get kids reading because I believe that illiteracy is one of the biggest challenges our country faces. And in many cases, kids simply need access to books—and especially books they want to read—to fall in love with reading, characters, and stories. Through my partnership with Scholastic these past seven years, we've made some great strides to do that. And I'm particularly excited about this new program as it will bring books to those schools and communities that need them the most, and ones that we haven't served before. I know that reading changes lives, and I hope that The United States of Readers will not only help bridge the gap in literacy inequity, but really make an impact on the lives of young kids."
In addition to the books, students will receive a bookmark with a tassel and a United States of Readers book bag, which will allow students to carry their very own books and feel confident about their book ownership no matter where they go. Students will also receive a bookplate—a personalized label that can be adhered to the inside of a book cover that indicates ownership—for each of their chosen books so that they can proclaim with pride that these are their books and that they are readers. Each participating teacher will also receive 25 books to help build their classroom libraries, and their classrooms and schools will be welcomed into a country-wide community of budding lifelong readers, allowing for additional support and connections throughout the school year.
Since 1948, Scholastic Book Clubs has offered quality, affordable books to students across the United States, supported teachers in building classroom libraries and literacy-rich environments, and helped spark a love of reading in generations of kids. By 2026, the United States of Readers aims to give 5 million children in Title I schools choice, empowerment, and community through books and reading.
For more than 100 years, Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) has been encouraging the personal and intellectual growth of all children, beginning with literacy. Having earned a reputation as a trusted partner to educators and families, Scholastic is the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books, a leading provider of literacy curriculum, professional services, and classroom magazines, and a producer of educational and entertaining children's media. The Company creates and distributes bestselling books and e-books, print and technology-based learning programs for pre-K to grade 12, and other products and services that support children's learning and literacy, both in school and at home. With 15 international operations and exports to 165 countries, Scholastic makes quality, affordable books available to all children around the world through school-based book clubs and book fairs, classroom libraries, school and public libraries, retail, and online. Learn more at www.scholastic.com.
About James Patterson:
James Patterson is the world's bestselling author. His enduring fictional characters and series include Alex Cross, the Women's Murder Club, Michael Bennett, Maximum Ride, Middle School, and Ali Cross, along with such acclaimed works of narrative nonfiction as Walk in My Combat Boots, E.R. Nurses, and his autobiography, James Patterson by James Patterson. Bill Clinton (The President Is Missing) and Dolly Parton (Run, Rose, Run) are among his notable literary collaborators. For his prodigious imagination and championship of literacy in America, Patterson was awarded the 2019 National Humanities Medal. The National Book Foundation presented him with the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community, and he is also the recipient of an Edgar Award and nine Emmy Awards. He lives in Florida with his family.
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