With uncertain school starts, virtual learning, and forced “family time,” pandemic-ridden parents need all the help they can get. Luckily, Scholastic Books, an educational and recreational reading mainstay for 100 years, just launched an innovative and very user-friendly Instagram tool — the Scholastic Bookshelf.
Got stories? Yes. But it’s also designed to make those difficult and awkward questions kids are asking nowadays a bit easier to manage.
Tackling Today’s Issues
Scholastic just celebrated its 100th anniversary, and it’s morphed from a magazine to a popular reading resource to its latest presence as a social media tool. Generations of kids ordered books from its catalogs every school year. Now, Scholastic wants to assist parents in addressing the pressing issues confronting kids every day, and use its incredible library of work to do it.
Hit the @scholasticbookshelf on Instagram, and immediately topic boxes appear, confronting issues ranging from the general, like anxiety, to the timely, like protests. Click on a topic, and you’ll find at least three different stories or pieces, pulled from Scholastic’s enormous archive, that are age-appropriate and helpful for parents and kids alike.
“We know that while 61% of parents and teachers often use stories, books, and articles to help have conversations with children, they are turning more and more to advice on social media – roughly 3 in 4 millennial parents turn to social media for parenting advice at least 3-6 times a week,” Lauren Tarshis, Scholastic Senior VP and Classroom Magazine Division Editor in Chief and Publisher tells Parentology. “The Bookshelf reaches parents and teachers where and when they are seeking guidance, with excerpts from Scholastic content accessible with a few simple swipes.”
Identifying timely topics took some exhaustive research, including focus groups, surveys, and interviews with parents, teachers, and Scholastic sector experts. The data was distilled into categories ranging from the “evergreen,” like anxiety, empathy, bullying, and imagination, as well as more timely topics like race, gender, diversity, and even illness.
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The beauty of diversity is how it shapes our understanding and helps us grow. Swipe to see! #ReadOn #Scholastic100 . Our featured story is from: Why Am I Me? by Paige Britt, Sean Qualls, and Selina Alko [ages 6-8] . Discover stories 📚 about the beauty ✨ of #Diversity below👇🏾 1️⃣ Lety Out Loud [ages 9-12] 2️⃣ “Why I Wear a Head Scarf” in Scholastic Action [ages 6-8] 3️⃣ You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P! [ages 9-12] 4️⃣ “They Changed Their School. Could You?” in Scholastic Choices [ages 13+] ⭐️ Explore related topics: Cultural Traditions, LGBTQIA+ Find these stories & more at the link in bio. . © 2020 Scholastic Inc. All Rights Reserved.
It’s Helpful and FREE
The Scholastic Bookshelf on Instagram offers up stories and articles for ages ranging from kindergarten all the way through high school, and each of the carefully curated pieces are absolutely free. And, if one of the books feels like the right choice, those are available for purchase, too.
Scholastic’s hope is that, as Tarshis puts it, “this is an experience for parents, teachers, and kids together.” There are excerpts from over 60 stories on the Scholastic Bookshelf, as well as suggestions to discover nearly 300 additional fiction and non-fiction stories. This includes stories from iconic series like The Baby-Sitters Club and The Magic School Bus, and from beloved authors like Dav Pilkey and Raina Telgemeier.
Rest assured, the Bookshelf’s content has been thoroughly vetted by experts like Karen Baicker, Executive Director of the Yale Child Study Center–Scholastic Collaborative for Child & Family Resilience. It’s a quick and easy way to broach and discuss difficult topics, while encouraging reading and literary interpretative skills.
Most importantly, the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report found that 74% of children agree that reading fiction and nonfiction is a way to help them understand the world, and over half of kids (53%) agree that a book has helped them through a difficult time.
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Freedom of speech is your constitutional right. Swipe to discover the power of your voice. 📢 #ReadOn #Scholastic100 . Our featured story is from: “The Teens Who Fought for Free Speech” by Joe Bubar in The New York Times Upfront [ages 9-12] . Find even more stories 📚 on #FreeSpeech here👇🏽 1️⃣ “First Amendment 101” in Junior Scholastic [ages 9-12] 2️⃣ “Demanding Justice” in Scholastic News [ages 9-12] 3️⃣ “Protest Nation” in The New York Times Upfront [ages 13+] 4️⃣ Say Something! [ages 6-8] ⭐️ Explore related topics: Civil Rights, Discrimination Find these stories & more at the link in bio. . © 2020 Scholastic Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Tips for Using The Bookshelf
The Scholastic.edu blog has a list of tips; here are the basics:
Share the story.
No matter how old children are, sharing the experience of the story is always appropriate. You can read the story together, or separately and then discuss.
Ask open-ended questions that invite children into freewheeling discussion.
The point in this context is not to assess recall or reading skills, but to let them access and express emotions. Make sure to encourage them to ask you questions in return.
The shortest path is not always a straight line.
In fact, the power of story often comes precisely from its side-step of an issue that’s otherwise too raw for children to discuss directly. Talking about characters who’ve experienced similar emotions under different circumstances is frequently the best way to get to the heart of a matter.
Reading is the ultimate rabbit hole! Ask children, what’s next? The Scholastic Bookshelf provides opportunities to keep reading and learning through more magazine articles and stories.