scholasticJames Patterson announced a personal pledge of $1.25 million to save classroom libraries in the fifth installment of his Patterson Partnership with Scholastic Book Clubs, a division of Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education, and media company. According to the Kids & Family Reading Report™: Finding Their Story, only one in three kids has access to a classroom library with enough of the types of books they like to read. To help change this problem, 4,000 teachers across the country will be awarded individual grants of $250, matched by 250 Bonus Points from Scholastic Book Clubs, to further assist them in acquiring books and other materials desperately needed in their classrooms. In a new initiative this year, $250,000 will be allocated to 500 “new” teachers with three years of experience or less, who will each receive $500 and 500 bonus points to help fill their bookshelves. The pledge drew a record 127,000 applicants in 2018—more than four times the number received in prior years. Applications are now being accepted through July 31 and winners will be announced in September.

To date, James Patterson has donated $7.25 million to school and classroom libraries through his partnership with Scholastic Book Clubs—this year brings that total to $8.5 million. To learn more about the program, and to apply for a grant, please visit: scholastic.com/pattersonpartnership.

James Patterson said, “Illiteracy—or lack of reading proficiency—is a huge and often daunting issue in this country. In many, many states, more than 40% of students read below grade level. This is a shocking statistic. Tackling this epidemic can be overwhelming for parents and educators alike. But we have to start somewhere. And I think getting books into the hands of children is an excellent place to start. My hope is that my partnership with Scholastic helps teachers fill their classroom bookshelves, and gives their students access to books that they’re excited to read—and ultimately, to foster a lifelong love of reading, as I strongly believe that better readers make better people.”

“We at Scholastic Book Clubs are thrilled to be partnering with James Patterson for the fifth year in a row,” said Judy Newman, President and Reader in Chief of Scholastic Book Clubs.James’ vision of making great books available to all students is perfectly aligned with the work we do every day. The 800,000 classroom teachers who use Scholastic Book Clubs, on behalf of the millions of children they teach, need resources to build classroom libraries filled with books that are well suited to their students’ interests, reading abilities, and imaginations—and provide easy and barrier free access to those titles. I continue to be awed and inspired by James’ generosity and his determination to put ample resources behind the vision of great books—and literacy—for all. We applaud James’ recognition that teachers are critically important in this work and that many teachers—particularly those new to teaching—struggle to find the funds to put books on their classroom library shelves. We stand with teachers who are so grateful for James’ recognition and we are geared up and ready for the tremendous, enthusiastic response we know the 2019 #PattersonPledge with Scholastic Book Clubs will get from tens of thousands of teachers across the country.”

Patterson hopes that teachers and students will share their experiences in their communities using #PattersonPledge. The application process is simple: teachers just need to say in 50 characters or less how they plan on using $250 dollars and 250 Bonus Points to help build their classroom libraries. All teachers in PreK through grade 12 in US schools are eligible to apply for a grant. All funds are being personally donated by James Patterson, and all Bonus Points are being donated by Scholastic Book Clubs.