“Today” Inspires Summer Reading
NBC’s “Today” recently launched “Al’s Book Club for Kids,” a four-part series aimed to engage children in reading during the summer break and centered around the morning show’s popular weather man Al Roker. The new series has partnered with Scholastic’s Summer Reading Buzz! Campaign, which challenges kids to read four or more books during their months-long hiatus from the classroom. Both programs hope to combat what commonly is referred to as the “Summer Slide,” when children experience a loss of skills attributed to being out of school for a prolonged period of time.
“Scholastic is proud to join with ‘Today’ to promoted summer reading,” said Francie Alexander, the publisher’s chief academic officer. “Al Roker is likely to do for kids’ reading what Oprah has done for adults’ reading.”
The book club, consisting of Roker and a group of young readers ages nine to 11 years, will meet in New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza once each month during the summer to discuss that month’s selected book. The book’s author also will be on hand to field questions from the group. The club kicked off with the announcement of its first selection, “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” by Brian Selznick, a magical tale of an orphan who lives inside the walls of a busy Paris train station. Selznick will appear on “Today” on May 18, 2007, for the book club’s inaugural discussion. NBC is encouraging children to visit “Today” on the Plaza on the days that the club convenes and to bring a copy of the monthly book selection for the author to sign.
“With so many amazing books out there for kids, and with so many of our viewers being parents, we are thrilled to offer a fun, interactive way to read with the kids in our audience all summer long,” said Jaclyn Levin, senior publishing producer, NBC News.
“Al’s Book Club for Kids” also will have extensive online components at TodayShow.com and scholastic.com/summerreading. Among many other features, the “Today” Web site will allow parents and their children to submit questions to the books’ authors and to join online discussions, while kids may participate in a variety of book-themed activities at the Scholastic site.