NEW YORK, May 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Share this release: http://bit.ly/1lImVv1 Today, Scholastic (NASDAQ: SCHL) announces the launch of the 2014 Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge, a free, global reading program that motivates children to read throughout the out-of-school summer months by logging their reading minutes, and earning rewards, with the goal of setting a new world record for summer reading. Last year's participants set the world record of 176,438,473 minutes read. Teachers, schools and families can register their children in grades K-8 starting today at scholastic.com/summer and children can log minutes from today through September 5th, 2014.
The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge was created to give schools and families a free and engaging way to encourage more children to read during the summer and prevent the ' summer slide'– the learning losses that set children back academically when they do not read during the out-of-school summer months. Children sign-up to read on behalf of their school and the schools compete to win top prizes. The top elementary school with the most minutes read will win a visit from bestselling author-illustrator David Shannon ( Bugs in My Hair!) and the top middle school will win a visit from bestselling author Gordon Korman ( The Hypnotists). The top 20 U.S. schools with the most reading minutes recorded by September 5th will be featured in the 2015Scholastic Book of World Records. This year's Summer Reading theme is Reading Under the Stars, and is powered by EVEREADY ®, the maker of batteries and flashlights, to encourage families to discover new and fun ways to explore reading outside this summer. Reading Under the Stars comes to life for children online as they enter reading minutes and, throughout the summer, the site will unlock interactive star constellations containing special video messages from NASA astronaut Leland Melvin. Children will also have the opportunity to take an extra "Chapter Challenge" and learn more about space from Pascal Lee, a planetary scientist from the SETI and Mars Institute and author of Mission: Mars. Parents can support their child's reading all summer with the free " Reading Under the Stars Guide," which includes summer reading book lists, curated by Scholastic experts, Read Under the Stars videos, expert articles, tips and family activities. "We know that the more children read, the more they succeed and time spent with books is especially important during the summer months so students return to school ready to tackle more challenging texts," said Francie Alexander, Chief Academic Officer at Scholastic, the global children's publishing, education and media company. "In the summer, we want our kids finding books that fit their personal interests because those are the books that will make them fall in love with reading. Being part of the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge motivates kids to build up their reading minutes and earn rewards, while parents and teachers can monitor progress. Everybody wins!" Here are ways parents, children and educators can get involved in the 2014 Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge.