James Patterson will donate another $1.75 million to school libraries this year, the third installment of his School Library Campaign. Working in partnership with Scholastic Reading Club, the 2017 program focuses on teachers: 3,500 individual recipients will receive grants of $500 to enhance and supplement their classroom libraries. The grants will be awarded on a rolling basis throughout the year. All teachers in grades pre-K through 12 in U.S. schools can apply. Patterson hopes that teachers and students will share their experiences in their communities using #pattersonpledge.
The Patterson Pledge program was launched in 2015 as part of an ongoing effort to keep books and reading a priority for children in the U.S. Scholastic Reading Club will administer funding questionnaires to its network of 800,000 teachers and will match each dollar with "Bonus Points," which can be used to acquire books and other materials. Questionnaires must be submitted by July 31 and can be found here: www.scholastic.com/pattersonpartnership. To date, the bestselling author has donated $3.5 million to school libraries.
The Scholastic Teacher & Principal School Report: Equity in Education revealed that, regardless of school poverty level, 31% of teachers have fewer than 50 books in their classroom libraries and more than half of teachers (56%) use their own money to purchase books. Most-needed types of reading materials for classroom libraries are culturally relevant titles; books published in the last 3-5 years; multiple copies of popular titles; high-interest, low-reading-level books; and magazines.
"I'm thrilled that this year's round of grants recognizes teachers, who play such a vital role in student development," said Patterson. "Many kids rely solely on their classroom bookshelves for reading material, particularly in those schools without a library. And while it's been incredible to see the overwhelming response to my school library grants over the past two years, I'm excited to expand the reach of the program, and make a positive impact on teachers who are working with students all day, every day, in every school in the country."
Judy Newman, president of Scholastic Reading Club, observed that during the past two years, Patterson's "generosity has helped to support more than 900 school libraries nationwide, and Scholastic is proud to once again be a partner in this important program with a new round of grants to create more robust classroom libraries. Teachers know the importance of having rich classroom libraries that encourage more independent reading with the books kids choose for themselves. These grants will make an enormous difference in the reading lives of kids nationwide."