Drawing upon its 100 years’ experience of helping parents and educators tackle challenging issues through the vehicle of storytelling, Scholastic has launched a timely Instagram resource. Dubbed @scholasticbookshelf, this free-of-charge platform provides conversation starters, stories, and educational content all in one place.
The publisher’s roots date back to 1920 with the launch of its classroom magazines, including the Weekly Reader and subsequent production and distribution of countless children’s books and educational materials. “We wanted to celebrate our birthday by giving something of meaning to parents, teachers, and kids, and the Bookshelf felt like the perfect way to meet them where they already are—on Instagram—to deliver slices of some of our most important and beautiful books,” said Lauren Tarshis, senior v-p, editor-in-chief and publisher of the classroom magazine division at Scholastic. “So in our minds, we’re doing what we’ve always done best, but on a platform that so many parents and teachers love using.”
According to Scholastic, 61% of parents and teachers rely upon stories, books, and articles to support their discussions with children about current events and contemporary issues. Approximately three in five millennial parents are turning to social media for additional advice and guidance, which prompted Scholastic to address the increasing demand for educational resources.
The Bookshelf includes an extensive range of topics: from evergreen subjects such as anxiety, empathy, bullying, and imagination, to contemporary issues such as race, diversity, and illness. Excerpts from more than 60 stories are also featured, along with nearly 300 fiction and nonfiction stories from Scholastic’s books and classroom magazine articles. Among the more popular collections are the Baby-Sitters Club and the Magic School Bus series and works from authors such as Dav Pilkey and Raina Telgemeier. Selected content has been curated by Scholastic educators and editors.
To access the Bookshelf, users can visit @scholasticbookshelf on Instagram and select a topic to connect with a Scholastic book or classroom magazine excerpt. Next, they can swipe to explore questions, prompts, and conversation starters and use the #ReadOn hashtag to discover related, age-appropriate stories. Those that do not have access to Instagram can also view Scholastic Bookshelf via a web browser.
Content will be added to the Bookshelf based on parents’ feedback regarding their experience. “We’ll definitely be responding on Instagram and know we’re going to get some great insights into how our stories can help parents in this new way,” Tarshis said. “I imagine that it will inform new ideas for not only the Bookshelf, but for other areas of our publishing and outreach to parents and teachers.”