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Press Release

Scholastic, United Way, and Young Readers Will Help Get Books to Kids in Need This Summer

NEW YORK, May 7, 2019 (PRNewswire) -- Scholastic, the global children's publishing, education and media company, today announced the launch of Scholastic Summer Read-a-Palooza, a nation-wide movement to unite kids, parents, educators, public librarians, community partners, and booksellers in efforts to get books into the hands of more kids during the summer, keeping every child reading. The Scholastic Summer Read-a-Palooza is a re-energized approach to the Company's longstanding commitment to prevent the effects of the "summer slide"— the learning loss children frequently experience while school is out and that research suggests can accumulate to a two-year reading achievement gap by middle school. For the first time, kids are empowered to help other kids through summer reading, unlocking 200,000 books donated by Scholastic. Through a national collaboration with United Way Worldwide, the world's largest privately funded non-profit, the donated books will be distributed across the country to select locations where access to more high-quality books is needed most. Local retailers and libraries are also committing to additional book drives to support summer reading and book access in their local communities.

According to findings from the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report™: 7th Edition, there is a rising trend of kids ages 6–17 reading zero books over the summer: 15% in 2016 vs. 20% in 2018. Among 9–11- year-olds, this percentage has doubled (7% to 14%), and among teens ages 15–17 it has increased by ten points (22% to 32%). To help turn this trend around, the report reveals that if parents are aware of the summer slide, their children are less likely to read zero books (16% vs.25%). Yet, 47% of parents with school age children are not aware of the summer slide and this percentage increases sharply to 63% among families with household incomes under $35,000.

"It is an undeniable equity issue that many kids don't have access to books when school is not in session and too many kids are missing out on rich summer reading experiences. This must be addressed to ensure no matter where a child lives, they have the books and reading time needed to ensure they return to school reading-ready and on grade-level," said Richard Robinson, Chairman, President and CEO of Scholastic. "Through Scholastic Summer Read-a-Palooza and working with United Way, booksellers, and libraries nationwide, we will expand access to books across the country while supporting parents and educators in their effort to keep kids reading this summer."

"United Way believes that children deserve a strong start in life and we help to make that possible by empowering parents, improving the quality of early learning environments, and offering solutions, like our work with Scholastic, to challenges outside the classroom," said Mary Sellers, U.S. President, United Way Worldwide. "United Way is honored to be a part of the Scholastic Summer Read-a-Palooza, and its worthwhile mission: to put more books in the hands of more children everywhere, especially those who need them most."

The 2019 Scholastic Summer Read-a-Palooza consists of three key components:

  • The Scholastic Read-a-Palooza Summer Reading Give Back empowers kids to unlock book donations for other kids in two ways. Every minute read over the summer counts on the Summer Reading Challenge website, as kids work together to reach Give Back minute milestones. Upon reaching 25, 50, and 100 million minutes, Scholastic will donate 200,000 books to kids through United Way! In addition, Scholastic Read-a-Palooza Summer Reading Celebrations will bring the experience to participating local bookstores and libraries, welcoming kids and families to drop off books to be donated to an organization in their own community, chosen by the retailer.
  • The Scholastic Read-a-Palooza Summer Reading Challenge is back for its 13th year with a continued focus on keeping kids reading. Through September 6, kids can enter their summer reading minutes online and unlock digital rewards by completing weekly reading activities, gain access to book excerpts, videos, and content from beloved titles, and more! Minutes will also unlock the Scholastic Read-a-Palooza Summer Reading Give Back book donations. In September, the school in each U.S. state, territory, and District of Columbia that has entered the most reading minutes will be named "Best in State," featured in the 2019 Scholastic Book of World Records, and will receive a commemorative plaque as well as an official Scholastic party kit to celebrate their achievement. Special recognition will also be given to the top ten public libraries and community literacy partner organizations overall nationwide with the most minutes read.
  • Scholastic Read-a-Palooza Summer Reading Celebrations will take place at participating stores and libraries nationwide to bring communities together in the spirit of giving back. Booksellers and retailers will have the opportunity to host reading events in their communities, anchored around Scholastic Read-a-Palooza Summer Reading Give Back boxes while celebrating students' summer reading milestones and encouraging them to keep reading. Families who attend will be dazzled by a fun and engaging event that brings literacy to life. Readers can engage in activities, photo opportunities, and giveaways based on their favorite characters and series. Select events will even have appearances by both Scholastic favorites Clifford the Big Red Dog® and Dav Pilkey's Dog Man.

To learn more about Scholastic (NASDAQ: SCHL), the global children's publishing, education and media company, visit the Company's media room: http://mediaroom.scholastic.com.