Summer Reading Kicks Off: Scholastic Summer Challenge Gets Kids to Read for the World Record During Summer Vacation


Christopher Paul Curtis, Gordon Korman, R.L. Stine and Lisa Yee Launch Summer Challenge in Live Book Trivia Game Show Webcast on April 30th ; WordGirl® Will Serve as the National "Ambassador of Summer Reading"
Gubernatorial Spouses Nationwide Tackle Summer Reading Crisis in Their Home States


New York, NY — March 17, 2010 — Research shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of the summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer. Low-income students experience the worst decline, losing more than two months in reading achievement. Yet, studies show that early and sustained summer learning opportunities improve academic outcomes for youth and lead to higher graduation rates and better preparation for college.

Scholastic, together with Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) and the National Summer Learning Association, is challenging kids to Read for the World Record, to help keep kids reading and learning all summer long. Launching on April 30th, the Scholastic Summer Challenge, is a global summer reading program with a robust online community for kids plus expert advice, engaging activities on Facebook and summer book lists for parents, and resources for librarians and educators – and it’s all FREE. The Scholastic Summer Challenge kicks off with a live webcast with bestselling authors Christopher Paul Curtis, Gordon Korman, R.L. Stine and Lisa Yee, as they go head-to-head in a book trivia game show on April 30th at 1 p.m.(ET)/10 a.m.(PT) @ Kids everywhere will test their book knowledge against these bestselling authors.

In conjunction with the Summer Challenge, Governors' Spouses from across the nation are signing up to serve as "Reading Ambassadors" to help spread the important message about reading books over the summer in their respective states. This is the second year the Spouses are supporting this cause. As part of their participation, Scholastic will donate 500 books to a school selected by each First Spouse, to ensure that children have books to take home to read over the summer vacation.

To further motivate kids to read this summer, Scholastic’s Emmy Award®-winning WordGirl® will serve as the national "Ambassador of Summer Reading." WordGirl, produced by Scholastic Media and airs daily on PBS KIDS GO!®, is a crime-fighting superhero who uses her vocabulary strength in a never-ending battle for truth, justice and use of the right word. Along with her trusty sidekick Captain Huggy Face, WordGirl enriches children’s vocabulary, instills a love of language, and fosters better reading comprehension. WordGirl will appear in digital ads and in promotional videos about the importance of summer reading which will air online at, and on Scholastic's You Tube Channel. WordGirl will also be making appearances throughout the summer at select Governors' Spouses reading events across the country.

"Summer reading is a perfect activity that provides entertainment while keeping students' learning skills strong," said Francie Alexander, Chief Academic Officer at Scholastic. "The Scholastic Summer Challenge engages kids and allows them to choose the books they want to read, connect with other readers, and make reading part of summer fun."

What is the Scholastic Summer Challenge for Kids?
Kids ages eight and up can find great books and log their reading minutes to help set a new Read for the World Record. The minutes logged help earn virtual rewards for each child participant and are also credited to their school. At the end of the summer, the top 20 schools with the most minutes logged will be featured in the 2011 edition of the Scholastic Book of World Records. Throughout the summer, kids can also track their minutes, play book-themed games, create and share reading wish lists, and chat about books with other readers from around the world. Younger readers, ages seven and under, have their own fun challenge: for every book they read and log online, kids earn seeds to plant and grow in their own virtual reading garden. On behalf of all the readers participating in the Summer Challenge, Scholastic will make a donation of 50,000 books to kids in need through Reading Is Fundamental, a children's literacy non-profit.

"Discovering the joy of reading is one of the best adventures parents and their children can take during the summer," said Carol H. Rasco, President and CEO of RIF. "The Scholastic Summer Challenge provides an exciting platform to not only keep kids reading all summer long, but also ensures they are well-prepared for the upcoming school year."

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. Educators can access the Scholastic Facebook page (Summer Challenge tab) to create customized Virtual Bumper Stickers, declaring “My School Just Read __ Minutes,” to share with their Facebook friends. The Scholastic Summer Challenge site will feature a dedicated area for educators where they can track their school’s participation, and access resources such as printable age-appropriate book lists, bulletin board materials, reading certificates, reading logs, 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 geared to summer.

"Cumulative summer learning losses, particularly in reading, contribute to the persistent achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth," said Ron Fairchild, Chief Executive Officer of the National Summer Learning Association. "Programs that encourage kids to choose and read age-appropriate books are a great way to keep kids learning over the summer."

What is the Scholastic Summer Challenge for Parents and Caregivers?
Parents can engage fully in their kids’ summer reading activities on the Scholastic Facebook page (Summer Challenge tab). They can create a customized Virtual Bumper Sticker, declaring "My Child Just Read __ Minutes" and post it on their Facebook wall to share with their friends. Throughout the summer, the bumper sticker will get updated as their child reaches new reading milestones. In addition, the Scholastic Summer Challenge site will offer parents 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 to receive special summer book offers.

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Sara Sinek

Jennifer Boggs