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Dr. Joanne Meier
Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.
Where does lip gloss = reading? In Book Clubs.
According to CCFC, one-third of the items for sale in recent elementary and middle school fliers are either not books or are books packaged with other items such as jewelry and toys. The CCFC would like parents and teachers to contact Scholastic and let them know the message: Put the book back in your book club.
"The opportunity to sell directly to children in schools is a privilege, not a right," said CCFC's director, Dr. Susan Linn. "Schools grant Scholastic unique commercial access to children because of its reputation as an educational publisher. But Scholastic is abusing that privilege by flooding classrooms across the country with ads for toys, trinkets, and electronic media with little or no educational value."
In an interview with the New York Times, Judy Newman, President of Scholastic Book Clubs, defends every product in the book club fliers.
According to Ms. Newman, some children might be drawn to a book because it comes with a sticker or a poster, but that that doesn't mean that they're not reading. She added that even a product like a make-your-own-jewelry kit would have a reading component in the instructions.
Talk about an issue with several sides! And we're just talking about those monthly fliers. School book fairs are another topic altogether (maybe next week?)
As a teacher, I used book clubs. They were an easy way to earn points towards books for my classroom library. Sometimes an order would come with a poster or stickers that I could use in my room. And because the prices were good (some books as low as $0.99) I felt as though I was offering my families an inexpensive way to build their home library.
As a Mom, both my girls bring home order forms each month. They circle what they want, we "negotiate our way" through the junk, and we usually place an order for a handful of books.
My kids have learned that we don't order books about TV shows, and we don't order jewelry or lip gloss or any of the other trinkets. In some ways, the discussions we have about what we don't order are as instructive as the discussions about what we do order.
What's your opinion of the products in book club fliers? Too many? Too few? Should they stay, or should they go?