Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

Website review by
Jacqueline Rupp, Common Sense Media
Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge Website Poster Image
Summer reading program encourages reading (and sells books).

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Positive Messages

The site not only promotes summer reading, but also encourages kids to work together to set a world record for most hours read by a group. The summer reading program centers around a system where time spent reading equates to money donated to the Save the Children U.S. program.

Violence & Scariness

Very little violence, however during the quiz to choose which summer reading team a user will be on, a question asks what type of "heist" you would commit and one of the answers is, in effect, "I would tell you but I would have to kill you afterward."

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

This site is part of Scholastic's larger "Stacks" Web site, which is a tween interactive reading community. There are promos all over the site for Scholastic books and a click of an ad will take you to Scholastic's online store. Additionally, users can earn "points" for reading, which can then be redeemed via the Web site SmartyCard for both real and virtual prizes.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although this site has a very noble goal to inspire kids to read more over the summer, there is still a lot of commercial footnotes to this story. The site is run by Scholastic, which uses the program to promote its books and authors, and there are even convenient links to purchase titles. The program is partnered with SmartyCard to offer prize incentives to kids. SmartyCard is a pay site where parents purchase the rewards that are awarded to kids for playing education games on the site.

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What's it about?

Even if school's out, Scholastic is on a mission to keep kids reading over vacation with the SCHOLASTIC SUMMER CHALLENGE. The site, part of Scholastic's tween department, The Stacks, allows users to track their reading progress and record the time they have spent each day hitting the books. Users are grouped into a handful of teams, who compete for bragging rights and together raise funds for Save the Children. The site is also attempting to set a world record for most reading hours logged by a single group.

Is it any good?

The most useful aspect of the Summer Challenge is that it provides a simple, effortless way for kids, and parents for that matter, to keep track of summer reading time. Although the community forums and literary games might capture the imagination of avid readers, they also distract from the actual purpose of the program, which is to read more. The commercial tie-ins are numerous, so it's good to be wary, but overall this site takes safety precautions and offers kids multiple incentives to make this summer a literary one.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about reading and what makes it enjoyable. Do you find it more interesting to read a book if your friends are reading it as well? Is reading a social activity? Will a Web site like this get your to read more over the summer months? Do you think Scholastic has an interest in getting kids to read more? Should kids be rewarded with prizes for reading books?

Website details

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