Summer Reading Kicks Off at Scholastic: Are You Up for the Challenge?

Scholastic Summer Challenge Campaign Uses Online Games and Community
to Get Kids Excited About Reading “4 or More” Books This Summer

Live Online Game Show Web Cast Hosted by Jon Scieszka on April 30th
at 1:00 p.m. (ET) at

New York, NY (April 27, 2009) – This summer Scholastic, together with Save the Children’s U.S. Programs and the National Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University, is challenging kids to read for fun, for their team and for a good cause. Launching on April 30th, Scholastic Summer Challenge™ ( is the online destination for summer reading. With a robust online community for kids, expert advice for parents and free teaching resources for librarians and educators, this is one challenge everyone can enjoy! The Summer Challenge kicks off with a live game show web cast hosted by Jon Scieszka, the first National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Kids will test their book knowledge starting at 1:00 p.m. ET on April 30th at

Why Summer Reading?

As Malcolm Gladwell pointed out in his best-selling book Outliers, “America doesn’t have a school problem, it has a summer vacation problem.” Research shows:

  • Kids who don’t read four or more age-appropriate books over the summer are more likely to fall victim to the “Summer Slide,” the common loss of skills due to being out of school over the summer.
  • Low income students experience an average summer learning loss in reading achievement of over two months, a greater loss than that of their higher income peers.
  • The primary reason kids say they don’t read for fun more often is that they have trouble finding books they like.

“All kids need opportunities over the summer to practice what they’ve learned during the school year,” said Ron Fairchild, Executive Director of the National Center for Summer Learning. “Programs that encourage kids to read age-appropriate books that interest them are a great way to keep kids learning over the summer.”

“Summer reading is a perfect, low-cost activity that helps keep students’ learning skills strong,” said Francie Alexander, Chief Academic Officer at Scholastic. “The Scholastic Summer Challenge gives kids a chance to read what they want to read, connect with other readers in a safe online community, and help children in need.”

What is the Scholastic Summer Challenge for Kids?
This summer, kids ages eight and up can log on to to read for fun, play games and help children in need. Here’s how: once they accept the Challenge, they take a fun quiz that sorts them into one of four color teams, joining other kids from across the country and the world to record their minutes spent reading, earn points for their team, play games and chat about books. All summer long kids will be learning about critical issues kids face in the areas of early childhood development, literacy, physical activity, nutrition and emergency preparedness and response, which are at the core of Save the Children’s work in the U.S. At the end of the summer, Scholastic will make a financial contribution to Save the Children’s U.S. Programs on behalf of all the participating readers and the winning Summer Challenge team will vote on which issue Save the Children works on receives an extra donation!

“We are thrilled that this program not only gets kids reading but also educates them about some of the challenges faced by other kids across the country,” said Mark Shriver, Vice President and Managing Director of Save the Children's U.S. Programs. “Today one in six kids lives in poverty. With the Summer Challenge, Scholastic is taking an important leadership role in uniting the next generation and instilling a greater sense of responsibility to one another.”

At the Scholastic Summer Challenge, kids can also:

  • Take fun quizzes and multiply their points
  • Unlock new games and earn even more points
  • Apply their points to the Scholastic Book Fairs’ “Read for the World Record!”
  • Watch awesome celebrity shout-out videos including: The Naked Brothers Band, Lil’ Mama and Keke Palmer from True Jackson, VP on Nickelodeon
  • See exclusive content about favorite authors and books
  • Chat about favorite books like The 39 Clues and Harry Potter
  • Post book reviews on the Summer Challenge review blog
  • Enter sweepstakes for the chance to win prizes

In addition, kids can enter to for a chance to win sweepstakes for books from Scholastic, membership to Kidzui, the Internet for kids, and free bonus points from SmartyCard, redeemable for real rewards.


Kids ages 7 and younger have their own fun challenge: for every book they read and log online, kids earn seeds to plant and grow in their own virtual garden.

What is the Scholastic Summer Challenge for Parents and Caregivers?
The Kids and Family Reading Report™ shows that parents are the top source of book suggestions for kids who read most. The Summer Challenge parents’ site, sponsored by Wendy’s, will offer extensive, age-appropriate summer book lists and articles available in English and Spanish to help parents find books their kids will want to read. Parents can also explore multi-media content about kids and summer reading, get advice from education experts, and shop the Scholastic Store Online. Younger kids, in addition to the virtual garden game, can send an e-card to Clifford™ about what they’re reading and learn a new word from WordGirl™ every day!

What is the Scholastic Summer Challenge for Teachers and Librarians?
Teachers and librarians play a crucial role in getting kids to read over the summer. The Summer Challenge site will feature a dedicated area for educators with teaching resources such as printable book lists, bulletin board materials, and send-home letters about summer reading for parents (in English and Spanish). Teachers and librarians will also have access to free lesson plans, video book resources, and engaging book activities and teaching tips specifically for summer. Fun reproducibles for students include the “Read, relate, respond” graphic organizer and a “Critic’s Corner” book review template.

About Scholastic
Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books and a leader in educational technology and children’s media. Scholastic creates quality educational and entertaining materials and products for use in school and at home, including children's books, magazines, technology-based products, teaching resources, television programming, film, videos and toys. The Company distributes its products and services through a variety of channels, including proprietary school-based book clubs and school-based book fairs, retail stores, schools, libraries, television networks and the Company’s Web site,
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Media Contacts
Jennifer Boggs, Scholastic, 212.343.6619 or
Sara Sinek, Scholastic, 212.343.6899 or

Visit to learn more about Scholastic. Visit to learn more about the Scholastic Summer Challenge.