Guest post by Scholastic Corporate Communications intern Amanda Livingston
For the last four months, I have had the honor of being Scholastic’s corporate communications intern. I have wanted to work at Scholastic for a really long time— the books that they’ve published, their book fairs, and their education initiatives like the summer reading challenge were a huge part of my childhood and have made a huge impact on the person I am today.
Being Scholastic’s corporate communications intern was a wonderful experience. I felt like a valued member of the team (thank you Emily, Mike, Anne, Morgan, Stephanie S., Stephanie A., Stefany, Julia, Loribelle, Nicole, Mariana, Jo, Alex, Gina, Brittany, Suzanne, Karen, Deimosa, Jeremy, and Chris for making me feel that way)— working at Scholastic not only affirmed everything I loved about the company, but it taught me about the Scholastic brand, its divisions and corporate culture, and also allowed me to be a part of it all; showing me why everything Scholastic does matters and the huge impact it has on kids, families, and educators today.
Below I’ve listed some important themes (one for each month I’ve worked here) that I’ve picked up on and noticed. Enjoy!
1. Representation in stories is so important.
In the last few years, Scholastic has put out books like George by Alex Gino and Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You! by Marley Dias, among many others. These books celebrate diversity and inspire kids in the best ways— showing them that it’s okay to be themselves and love who they are. And I love that. I read so many stories growing up with protagonists who looked just like me and grew up the same way I did and felt how I felt. I didn’t realize how much it means to see yourself reflected in stories— and how much it means to not see characters like you in literature, or to see characters like you in literature but represented in ways that aren’t realistic or nice.
2. All about the “summer slide,” and how educators, parents and community partners try and get kids engaged with reading.
The “summer slide” is when kids forget what they’ve learned in school or slip out of practice over the summer when not in school. By working with the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report and Teacher & Principal School Report, I’ve learned that educators, parents, and community partners try and beat the summer slide by talking with children about books, encouraging them to go to the library, and maintaining their own libraries at home, among many other things. I was aware of the influence educators, parents, and community partners had on children and their reading habits, but I wasn’t aware to what extent/what tactics they used, how important those tactics are, and what effect they have on kids.
3. The stories/books you read as a kid have a huge impact on you as an adult.
I knew that the books that I read as a kid helped shape me into the person I am today—teaching me important life lessons, and helping me cope and understand my own life better, but hearing accounts from other kids at a My Very Own Library event in Newark, New Jersey and talking to members of the corporate communications team and reading their Bookprints showed me how important stories and storytelling can be in one’s own personal development.
4. Research and evidenced-based conclusions from research are likely to inspire action and change.
Like I said, I worked a lot with the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report and the Teacher & Principal School Report. These reports tracked kids’ relationship to reading, children’s literacy rates, the home-to-school connection to reading, summer reading trends, and reading in school, among many other topics. Some of this research was shocking and not what I expected, and showed the needs of educators, families, and children across the country when it comes to reading and literacy. I think that education is the first step in creating opportunities and a better future for yourself and for others, and this research definitely showed that some things in the American education system need to change to help create better futures for children today.