Tag Archives: Opinion

Wayside Stories in Real-Life Situations

7 Dec

Maybe we all teach at Wayside School. Maybe we all have a Maurecia, who only eats ice cream (and Todd-flavored ice cream at that!); a Paul (who only sees two things: Pigtail 1 and Pigtail 2); and a Joy (who has the biggest mouth at school) in our classroom.

Maybe we’ve all had teachers at Wayside School. Maybe we’ve been served lunch by a Miss Much (a lunch lady), a Mrs. Gorf (the meanest teacher in the school), or a Mrs. Jewls (a teacher who believes her students are monkeys).

In any case, we want to know: What’s the most “sideways” experience you’ve had as a student, a teacher, or a parent in the classroom?

If you want to learn more about these crazy students and teachers, check out Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar, available for only $1 in Arrow December.

We Listen to You…All of You!

8 Nov

It’s simple, really. We work in our offices in Soho (great neighborhood!) in the lovely New York City, but you are our eyes and ears into the classroom. Scholastic Book Clubs really thinks of parents and teachers as partners—we’re all in it to help children across America find books they can’t wait to read.

So we tout our customer service phone numbers and e-mails on every catalog and online,

AND we even include an e-mail address for our President, Judy Newman, so that you can write to her with any book recommendations or suggestions (judy.newman@scholastic.com). Comments like yours have made changes. No more service fees, unlimited enabling of catalogs online, Bonus Points (for teachers) starting at $1…and so much more.

In fact, I had the privilege of speaking to two teachers on Friday who had called customer service teams earlier in the week. (Yes, we care so much about what you have to say that we review comments and e-mails originally directed to our customer service team.)  These two early childhood directors had said that their parents weren’t ordering online (“jumped on the bandwagon” as one of them put it) and didn’t know why. So I spoke to them about educating parents on online ordering: ways to teach them how to order, how to find what they want, and how to talk about the rewards they would receive just for ordering online. We then talked about the books that their students were gobbling up  …and just kept talking. These two teachers gave me 30 minutes out of their hectic days, and they thought they were receiving help. I beg to differ. I learned so much, and was able to bring it all back to our teams here in NYC.

Thank you to these two teachers (you know who you are!), and to the thousands of teachers and parents who let us know how we can help.

Keep your ideas coming.

1-800-SCHOLASTIC &  bookclubs@scholastic.com

A Little More Muggle…

7 Oct

My life is a little more magical and Muggle-filled than it was last week. I have finished the first two books in the Harry Potter series and boy, are they good. My Book Talk cohort Preeti interviewed me about reading the first two books and it went a little long, so the video below is just some of the highlights of that interview. I will say here that one of my favorite things about the series thus far is the world that J.K. Rowling has created. It’s enthralling. The characters are great as well, but I found myself just captivated by everything from Hogwarts to the different landscapes to Diagon Alley. My other favorite aspect of the series is the beginning of Sorceror’s Stone, when we meet the Dursleys and Harry. The Dursleys, for me, were very Roald Dahl-esque. I immediately recognized who these awful people were just as if they were relatives of the Wormwoods (Matilda) or Spiker and Sponge (James and the Giant Peach). Rowling does a masterful job of establishing a framework for escapism in these novels. I can only imagine my 12-year-old self reading this. It would have blown my 12-year-old mind, and I would have applied to Hogwarts—literally, I would have written Albus Dumbledore and begged and pleaded for him to accept me as a student.

Anyway, those are just some of my thoughts. I am really enjoying the series and can’t wait to see what happens in Books 3 and 4. To find out my favorite characters, teachers, and what my owl’s name would be, check out the video below:

Don’t forget—you can find the whole series on November’s Holiday Gift Books catalog or find each book in Club Shop on our online ordering site.

Teacher Town Hall: Recap

27 Sep

Did you all watch and/or participate in the Teacher Town Hall last Sunday?

Pro-charter school, pro-public school, pro-tenure, anti-tenure—the opinions were strong, poignant, and conflicting.  It’s clear that there is no “one” answer to enhance America’s educational system.  But what do you think can help make a difference? And perhaps this question is more meaningful to you: What do you already do to affect lives? We heard from teachers who spend over $1,000 to help stock their classrooms, from teachers who stay until late in the evening to help supervise study hall for their students—I’m sure you have more to share.

Thank you to all of the teachers out there who help make a difference.  Really, we salute you. 

If you didn’t get a chance to tune in, you can learn more here: www.educationnation.com. Education Nation is throughout the week of September 26th, so be sure to check it out if you haven’t already.

“Boys Trail Girls In Reading; Can Fart Jokes Help?”

23 Jul

We know that the headline (from an actual article earlier this week) is controversial; we’re glad it grabbed your attention.  But now we want to know-how many farting noises will you put up with to have your boys grab a book instead of the remote?

Reluctant readers have turned the reading switch ON with the help of our friends Greg, Brian, Ook, Dan, and Ryan.* Granted, these may not be the studies greatest literary characters ever put down on paper, but right now, some parents are hoping “grossology” will help close the 10% gender reading gap (yes, have shown it to be this much) between the sexes.  So we ask the question to you all, “Boys trail girls in reading; can fart jokes help?”

We here at Book Clubs march by the drum of get ’em reading, get ’em learning.  Reading for pleasure and encouraging children to choose their own books that they can’t wait to read…well, that’s the first step in a lifelong love of reading.  And, at the end of the day, I for one will embrace the fart jokes.  Will you?

* Can you can name all of the titles of the works our friends have appeared in?