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Publishers Weekly Children's Features

Scholastic Expands Its Role in Reading Initiative
Cindi Di Marzo -- 5/25/98
Richard Robinson, president, CEO and chairman of Scholastic, has announced that during 1999 the company will increase its grant and book donations to the White House's early-learning initiative, Prescription for Reading Partnership, and will publish a Multi-Lingual Book Collection.
Robinson made his announcement on April 28, following a celebration, at the University of Chicago Hospital's Friend Family Health Center, for the one-year anniversary of the Prescription for Reading Partnership. The event also marked Chicago's citywide launch of the national Reach Out and Read early-learning initiative, in which disadvantaged children under the age of six will be given free books by pediatricians.

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, who attended the event, received an annual report for the first year of the partnership, which indicated a five-fold increase in the number of children served by Reach Out and Read doctors throughout the country since Prescription for Reading's inception. In addition, there was a 10-fold increase in the number of libraries participating in the Born to Read program and distribution of over 200,000 free copies of Read to Your Bunny by Rosemary Wells through "prescription" coupons.

Scholastic's commitments to the program for 1999 include donating 50,000 books to Reach Out and Read; continuing its national grant challenge (for every $100,000 raised nationally, the company contributes an additional 5000 books); and a new local grant challenge (for every $5000 raised, the company will donate 500 books).

The Multi-Lingual Book Collection will kick off with four titles from Scholastic's backlist, translated into 10 languages. English translations of the text are to appear on every page of each edition. The first 5000 books will be donated by Scholastic and its partners-printer R.R. Donnelley and Boston's Linguistic Systems, which translated the stories-to national programs associated with the Prescription for Reading Partnership. At a later date, Scholastic plans to offer the Multi-Lingual Book Collection to schools and other literacy organizations at a minimal cost.
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