Patterson, Scholastic team up on new literacy initiative

FILE - Author James Patterson appears at an event to promote his joint novel with former President Bill Clinton, "The President is Missing," in New York on June 5, 2018. Patterson donated $1.5 million to Scholastic Book Clubs to launch The United States of Readers," a classroom program designed to address literacy inequity. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File) (Mary Altaffer, Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

NEW YORK – With a donation of $1.5 million from author James Patterson, Scholastic Book Clubs has launched “The United States of Readers," a classroom program designed to address literacy inequity.

Scholastic announced Monday that United States of Readers will help bring books to 32,000 kids nationwide, grades K-8, from low-income families.

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“In so many communities around the country even our affordable offerings are out of reach for some families, and teachers are having to pay for the books themselves,” Judy Newman, president and “Reader-in-Chief” of Scholastic Book Clubs, said in a statement. “We knew we needed to come up with an alternative to our tried and true model, because every child needs to be able to choose and own books, and see themselves as a reader! The United States of Readers does just that.”

Patterson, one of the world's bestselling novelists, has already donated more than $10 million to teachers and students through Scholastic.

“I’ve been working my entire career to get kids reading because I believe that illiteracy is one of the biggest challenges our country faces," he said in a statement. “And in many cases, kids simply need access to books — and especially books they want to read — to fall in love with reading, characters, and stories. Through my partnership with Scholastic these past seven years, we’ve made some great strides to do that. And I’m particularly excited about this new program as it will bring books to those schools and communities that need them the most, and ones that we haven’t served before.”