Scholastic Launches “R.E.A.L.,” a Nationwide Mentoring and Literacy Program

Business and Community Leaders Visit Schools, Read to Kids as Part of Scholastic R.E.A.L.: Read. Excel. Achieve. Lead.

New York, NY (June 12, 2009)—Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, announced the launch of Scholastic R.E.A.L.: Read. Excel. Achieve. Lead.™, a nationwide mentoring program that provides students with reading mentors from their communities. The program was launched at an education Town Hall with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as part of the 23rd annual 100 Black Men of America conference in New York City.

A recent Child Trends research brief found that young people who participate in mentoring programs have better attendance, are more likely to pursue higher education, and have more positive attitudes toward school than those without mentors. Building on this research, school districts participating in Scholastic R.E.A.L. recruit members of their community to commit one hour a month to visiting and reading aloud to second, fifth or seventh grade classrooms.

Mentors read and connect with students who have limited access to positive role models. Students receive books to build their home libraries and the powerful experience of meeting strong, successful members of their community.

“I know first hand the powerful impact that mentoring can have on both mentor and student. As a R.E.A.L. mentor, I am humbled to be a part of a program that shows students the world of reading, and encourages them to pursue their dreams,” said Greg Worrell, President of the Scholastic Classroom and Library Group. “Scholastic is thrilled to have an opportunity to bring the R.E.A.L. program to districts nationwide, and eager to work with to ensure that positive role models are in classrooms all across the country every day.”

Mentors participating in the Scholastic R.E.A.L. program come from all areas of the community: business, medicine, law, sports, politics and the nonprofit sector. The program is designed to combat the staggering literacy and dropout rates of young men of color in America: only 20% of Latino boys and 16% of Black boys are reading at grade level by the fourth grade; 45% of black boys and 42% of Latino boys will drop out of high school.

“Strong mentoring relationships are critical to the future of our children…and to the future of our nation, particularly among boys of color who are not achieving at the level of their peers, and are therefore at greater risk of dropping out of school,” said Albert E. Dotson, Jr., Esq., Chairman of the Board of 100 Black Men of America, Inc. “100 Black Men of America is proud to join the Scholastic R.E.A.L. program in bringing positive role models into the lives of students across America.”

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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, teacher materials, 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 Internet Site,

Sarah Trabucchi