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Scholastic R.E.A.L. Features FCPS Reading Program in National Promo Video

The R.E.A.L. Read initiative in Fayette County Public Schools, which began in 2018, has grown into such a strong model that Scholastic Education Solutions, a division of Scholastic (the global children’s publishing, education, and media company), will feature our district in this fall’s nationwide rollout of the latest resources in its literacy-based mentoring program. Scholastic R.E.A.L. (Read, Excel, Achieve, Lead) gives school districts and community-based organizations the tools to recruit and equip caring individuals to champion reading. Using high quality, diverse books, the volunteer mentors read aloud in classrooms and talk about the stories with the children.

“Scholastic is excited and proud of the positive impact Fayette County Public Schools has made with the R.E.A.L program,” said Aly Abrams, product-marketing manager for Scholastic Education Solutions. “We hope by showcasing the success of FCPS, other school districts will feel encouraged to leverage the Scholastic R.E.A.L. program to engage their community, build literacy, and improve educational equity.”

A Scholastic crew visited host Mary Todd Elementary to film a couple of Lexington readers interacting with small groups in the library and to highlight the volunteers’ testimonials. Nine-year-old Auna Stroub enjoyed hearing the selection “What If You Had T-Rex Teeth?” “We’re taking this one home, and that’s pretty cool,” she said afterward.

Joe Scully, who works at the district’s main office, is a seasoned mentor – having volunteered once a month at Booker T. Washington Elementary last semester. “As soon as you sit down and start reading, the kids are locked in and engaged. I love seeing kids smile,” he said, “and I can’t wait to go back in the fall.”

The video aimed to capture the passion in FCPS, where “there are so many people who want to get involved,” according to Scully. Like him, the mentors often find they develop a bond with the students over relatable stories. Meanwhile, children grow their home libraries with take-home books, and families can support their child’s learning through fun activities and follow-up questions.

Mary Todd’s principal, Michael Jones, was not surprised that Scholastic picked FCPS as a model program. “It solidifies that we made the right choice in focusing on literacy as one of the pillars of our students’ success,” he said. Jones also praised the R.E.A.L. program, adding, “The stories are engaging, and it brings our kids in and makes them stronger readers.”

The promotional video – likely debuting in August – will help launch the Scholastic R.E.A.L. refresh, which will feature new family guides and 75 percent new books representing all types of diversity, such as racial, cultural, physical, and geographical. (The program already provides book companion guides for mentors and students.) 

“We partner with Scholastic R.E.A.L as a vehicle to get more mentors in schools,” said Christian Adair, who coordinates the efforts in FCPS. “This program is a game changer for us. Every child needs a mentor, and something meaningful happens when volunteers from our community share their love for reading.” 


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How to get involved

Posted June 30, 2022