Video spotlight: end of a Flip era

A few weeks ago, we all heard about the unfortunate end of the Flip camera. At OOM, we have taped many of our interviews with employees and authors and behind-the-scenes footage with our trusty Flip. The best part about these miniature cameras is that we can give our readers a look inside Scholastic without scheduling a 4-person camera crew! For example: whenever we hear that there’s an author in the building, we always grab our Flip for a quick interview. Think: Superman rushing to the nearest phone booth. That said, I present to you today some of our favorite clips filmed via Flip:

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How do we get boys excited to read during the summer? (Free webinar next week)

I’ve made plainly obvious in the past my wish that more boys were given “permission” by the culture we live in to love reading — and that they had access to more books that matched their interests and ambitions.

Unfortunately, many boys grow up today without true reading mentors and in cultures that don’t place an emphasis on reading. For many boys today (and it’s true also for girls in some circumstances), reading just isn’t something that’s seen as important in the reality of their worlds.

What’s happened over the years is that boys have fallen behind girls in reading in every state. During the summer it’s CRUCIAL that boys (and all kids) read as much as they can. During this time, when they’re out of school and away from their teachers, kids commonly slide back in their reading abilities. Reading for fun during the summer can solve that problem. (We try to make it extra-fun with the Scholastic Summer Challenge. Sign up here!)

If you’re an educator (or even a parent!) and you’re as interested in this topic as I am, you’ll be sure to get a lot out of an upcoming webinar with literacy experts Pam Allyn and Kay Hansen. Pam is one of the country’s foremost experts on teaching literacy (you can see Pam interviewed here during a recent Scholastic Teacher Talk), and her new book, called Pam Allyn’s Best Books for Boys is focused on how to get boys to read more. We’re giving away a copy over on our Scholastic Teachers Facebook page. Head on over there to enter.

You can sign up for Pam and Kay’s webinar on Boys and Summer Reading anytime, and the event will take place on May 2 from 2-3 p.m. (EST).

How do you get boys excited about reading during the summer?

In Our Feeds: “Gamification” in schools, an uncensored version of Dorian Gray, and (of course) the Royal Wedding

Every Friday, we share a handful of links we found interesting, provocative, funny — or just plain cool. We call it In Our Feeds. Have a good weekend!

Harvard University Press republished an uncensored version of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. Due to content that contained “a number of things which an innocent woman would make an exception to,” the original work was censored before it was published over 120 years ago.

According to a study by Viacom and the Associated Press, many students feel that traditional higher-education does not align with their long-term goals. Instead, more students are interested in customizing their own education programs to meet their career goals.

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Surrounded by books: A My Bookprint guest post

Katrina's Bookprint on YouAreWhatYouRead.com

It’s Thursday, which means it’s Bookprint day! We asked our colleague in Corporate Communications, Katrina Picon, to share hers. From Gods to ghosts, Katrina has read all about them! See for yourself which five books shaped her life.  Don’t forget to stop by You Are What You Read and create your own Bookprint!

As the child of two teachers, it’s hardly surprising that I grew up surrounded by books. They were everywhere in my house — lining shelves, crammed in drawers, stuffed under beds (sorry, mom). It seemed there was never enough room for them all. And even though my parents limited the numbers of Barbies or Cabbage Patch Kids I could have, they never refused me a book. Some of my earliest and fondest memories are of my mother and father reading to me and my older brothers — a soothing bedtime ritual that helped foster a love of reading.  So, like most people here at Scholastic, I’ve spent hours on end with my nose in a book, and I’ve come across many that have left an indelible mark on me. Here are my top five most influential books:

Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn – The creepiness factor in this book is considerable, and that’s why I loved it so much as a kid. It’s a chilling book that hooked me as a fifth grader and one that, even today, still kind of makes my skin crawl. I first read it in one of my elementary school classes and was quickly swept up in this story about a girl who can converse with ghosts. The book appealed to me because I’d always been fascinated by the supernatural and spooky; by the sixth grade I had amassed a sizeable collection of ‘real ghost stories’ that I eventually gave away because they scared me too much. For some reason, though, Wait Till Helen Comes stood out from the others, and after I finished it, I was determined to read all the other titles by Mary Downing Hahn. I’d have to say that it was this book that REALLY got me excited about reading.

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Technology tipping points

I like to think of myself as pretty progressive when it comes to technology. But if I look at recent facts honestly, I have to admit: I’m delusional. From cell phones to digital photography and video to e-readers, Blu-Ray players, HD televisions, and iPods, I saw enemies of culture and the natural order rather than advancements in how we engage with things like books, movies, and, indeed, other people.

Of course I ultimately embraced all of the technology I railed against (because I’m a hypocrite) to the point that I now own a Droid, listen to music on an iPod Touch, and lust after the latest DSLRs. Recently, I became the owner of a Blu-Ray player and a Kindle, two things I swore I’d never own. Thinking about how that happened led to asking myself: What was my technology tipping point?
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The Scholastic Summer Challenge starts today!

Summer is almost here, and you know what that means … it’s time to get excited about summer reading with the Scholastic Summer Challenge! Now in its fifth year, the Summer Challenge invites kids to log the minutes they spend reading as they Read for the World Record, and the 20 schools with the most minutes logged will receive recognition in the 2012 Scholastic Book of World Records.

And there’s something for everyone!

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Retelling Greek mythology, YA-style

It’s frequent guest blogger Lauren Felsenstein here! The weather’s getting warmer and that means everyone is looking for a new book to read outside. Whether lying by the beach or picnicking in the park, there’s one new book in particular I’m excited to take for a read out in the sun — even though it takes place somewhere a little darker…

#1 New York Times Bestselling author Meg Cabot brings readers into the Underworld with the first book in a brand new trilogy, Abandon–a riveting, modern retelling of the myth of Persephone and Hades set in the Florida Keys. Yes, you read that correctly. A modern retelling of Persephone! (Commence geek-out.)

Abandon was inspired the famous Greek myth, which Meg first learned about and fell in love with in high school. She says, “I was hooked right away… There’s something so compelling about a guy who falls so desperately in love with a girl that he’s willing to kidnap her and allow the earth to be destroyed rather than give her up, because he’s doomed forever to rule over the dark Underworld, and he can’t stand to be without her.” Meg wrote a great essay for The Huffington Post that gives more details about how and why she wrote Abandon, and talks a lot about the importance of reading for pleasure. You can read it here.

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