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February 19, 2009

Scholastic is Under Fire, but Why?

Sara There are so many new and exciting things for children to discover once they reach school age. Everything from bus rides to buying lunch it's all so exciting for their little minds! The major right of passage, I think, is the infamous Scholastic book order form. It's a two or three page form of magic that secretly whispers. "You'll dance through a make believe world with each turn of the page." Growing up in a small Texas town, on the rather poor side, I rarely had the chance to place an order or buy anything at the book fair. It didn't stop me from envisioning what each book would feel like in my fingers, how the pages would smell, and the places it would take me while I read each and every word on the edge of my bed.

Scholastic, the popular children's book publisher, has given so many children, throughout the years a reading foundation built, not only on the incredible books on hand, but on the mere excitement given to a child when they first see the flier. There is an increased thrill for reading and books that, I feel, can not be replicated by any others. So, why are they under fire? According to the New York Times, Scholastic Inc, publisher of series such as Harry Potter, is marketing non-educational material in schools. Children are seeing video games, jewelry making kits, and *gasp* toy cars!

Can you even imagine your children wanting to make jewelry or, better yet, on the floor rolling a toy car?!

Oh, what is the world coming to? The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood states that, "Marketing in Schools is a privilege, not a right." Hmmm.. Well, Susan Linn, you are correct. We don't just let ANY publisher come into our school and promote what ever the hell they want, but Scholastic has a reputation for building a love for reading. They BUILT that reputation. Do you think they are just throwing it all away with a "No Care" attitude? Do you imagine them rubbing their hands together with angry eyebrows and an evil laugh? "We'll get those kids off those books if it's the last thing we do! Our evil plan is to use video games and jewelry kits to do it! Bwa Ha Ha Ha Ha!" Give me a break. Give me a break CCFC!

I understand you are a childrens advocacy group, who are here to help our homes from being held hostage by commercialized products, but there is a simple answer for everyone. It's not that hard and I'm sure a 27-year-old Mom, such as myself, can come up with it. Let parents decide what to buy or not buy their children. My thoughts consume me because every book store and library I've been to, in the last few years, sells or lets you check out other items besides books. There are magazines, DVD's, computer games. Do any of you Moms out there believe a child should be reading during ALL their spare time? My guess would be no. There is a time to relax, *ahem*, play with a toy car, or enjoy Mom & Daughter time by making jewelry. In the back of those kids minds is, "Hey! I'm loving this." They'll remember the books that got them to that particular point of relaxation bliss.

I'll go further to say, I believe that reading has been under rated. In fact, the Accelerated Reader program has been taken away from our Elementary School completely. Superintendent thinks it's not worth having around and has not seen proof that it's rendering results. I'll be the first to say, reading is the being phased out. We as a society, as parents for that matter, have been forced to take on the responsibility of keeping it strong in our schools, in our neighborhood, and, most importantly, in our homes. Yes, some ways to do that is including a trinket with that book to boost creative thinking. Yes, some ways might include a computer game or lip gloss to involve the child into the story line. I'm okay with that, but have also taken the initiative to filter what will and will not be on our personal bookshelf.

Yes, there are some items in those forms that shouldn't be sold, but here's how it works: When Parents choose to look over those items and stand firm in NOT buying them, then Scholastic will take a different approach, and quit selling them. I don't' know why I feel like others don't understand that this world isn't' the same as it was 20 years ago. We're technologically advanced where our preschoolers can navigate through digital cameras, laptops, and wireless reading devices such as the Kindle

Oh, Scholastic! I see your need to keep up with the ages. Why don't they?

Oh CCFC, I see your need to keep reading a priority, but Scholastic does too.

This is an original Deep South Moms Post. Besides sifting through Scholastic order forms, Sara Patterson can be found writing at My Sippy Cup Runneth Over and giving you her take on the coolest products hitting the shelves for Moms & Children alike at Momma Findings. It's earned her a contributing writing position for the Label Daddy Blog. Feel Free to stop on by ya' hear!

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