Throwback Thursday: It comes 'full circle' with Scholastic Book Clubs

Michael Barrett  //  Sep 14, 2017

Throwback Thursday: It comes 'full circle' with Scholastic Book Clubs

As a book lover, I faced a major conundrum: I never liked to read aloud in class or at home.

I was embarrassed. Every time I reviewed my homework or read something as simple as a TV Guide listing aloud to my family, I noticed that I accidentally skipped words or even found difficulty pronouncing a word I "knew," but I just could not get it right out loud. My mom began to notice this as well. She saw me devour book after book silently, but I would freeze if she asked me to read a passage. My usual response was "oh, this part is boring" or - my personal favorite - "my eyes are hurting now. I am going to take a break." My mom was hip to my reluctance - and then she took action. At back-to-school night, my mom got a lifeline from my teacher when she handed my mom the latest Scholastic Book Club flyer. 

That evening I anxiously awaited to hear what my teacher said about me. Did she like me? Did she not appreciate my impression of her on the playground two days before? Luckily, I was greeted by my mom with the latest issue of "Lucky" and asked me to sit down and, "circle five books that I would like to read for fun, but on the condition that we needed to read it aloud together." 

Flash-forward to a few months later. Thanks to these flyers, this became a monthly tradition of choosing an assortment of titles - from The Magic School Bus to Goosebumps to The Stinky Cheese Man... - and setting aside time to read aloud with my mom after a long day. Her efforts helped me become a more confident reader in grade school.

My mom discovered something that many parents should know today: recent research from the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report shows that 87% of kids ages 0-17 and 82% of their parents love(d) or like(d) read-aloud time as families say it's a "special time together" and it's "fun." This special bonding time helped my mother see what was tripping me up when I read aloud. I also found solace in reading aloud time, as I grew up in a single-parent household. Time was precious for all of us and, ultimately, provided me a sense of empowerment.

Even today, whenever I review an email at work or a blog post at home, I freeze if I need to it out loud. I just take a breath and channel my 8-year-old self sitting at the kitchen table with the latest Book Clubs paperback and recall my mom's mantra: "read slowly, thoughtfully and confidently." 

Recalling this memory is rather surreal for me today as I work very closely with Scholastic Book Clubs as part of my daily job. I still get that thrill when I see that flyer get passed around the office. 

I guess my journey did come to "full circle" after all with those flyers! Thanks to Scholastic Book Clubs - and mom's tireless efforts - I can confidently say that I now love to read aloud.