Scholastic Corporation is an American multinational publishing, education and media company known for publishing, selling, and distributing books and educational materials for schools, teachers, parents, and children. Products are distributed to schools and districts, to consumers through the schools via reading clubs and fairs, and through retail stores and online sales. The business has three segments: Children Book Publishing & Distribution (Trade, Book Clubs and Book Fairs), Education, and International. Scholastic holds the perpetual U.S. publishing rights to Harry Potter and The Hunger Games book series. Scholastic is the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books and a leader in print and digital educational materials for pre-K to grade 12.
In addition to Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, the company is known for its school book clubs and book fairs, classroom magazine Scholastic News, and popular book series: Clifford the Big Red Dog, Goosebumps, The Magic School Bus, Captain Underpants, Animorphs, and I Spy. Scholastic also publishes instructional reading and writing programs, and offers professional learning and consultancy services for school improvement. Clifford the Big Red Dog serves as the mascot for Scholastic.
In 1920, Maurice R. "Robbie" Robinson founded the business he named Scholastic Publishing Company in his hometown of Wilkinsburg, right outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As a publisher of youth magazines, the first publication was The Western Pennsylvania Scholastic. It covered high school sports and social activities and debuted on October 22, 1920.
In 1926, Scholastic published its first book, Saplings, a collection of selected student writings by winners of the Scholastic Writing Awards.
For many years the company continued its focus on serving the youth market, publishing low-cost magazines and later paperback books. The company continued under the name Scholastic Magazines throughout the 1970s.
After World War II, cheap paperback books became available. In 1948, Scholastic entered the school book club business with its division T.A.B., or Teen Age Book Club, offering classic titles priced at 25 cents.
In 1957, Scholastic established its first international subsidiary in Toronto Scholastic Canada, later moving to Markham, Ontario.
By the 1960s, international publishing locations were added in England (1964), New Zealand (1964) and Sydney (1968).
In 1974, Richard "Dick" Robinson, the son of founder M. R. Robinson, became President of Scholastic Inc. Named Chief Executive Officer in 1975 and Chairman in 1982, he remains in these positions.
During the 1970s, Scholastic was well known for Scholastic Book Clubs, a book purchasing service delivered through schools, and magazine publications aimed at youths: Wow (preschoolers and elementary schoolers), Dynamite (pre-teens), and Bananas (teens). Scholastic now publishes 33 classroom magazines including Scholastic News, Action, Scope, Storyworks, SuperScience, Science World, Math and more, that reach 14 million readers.
The Scholastic Education business sells instructional reading and writing programs such as Guided and leveled reading and print and digital classroom magazines, along with professional learning programs and consulting/training on Family & Community Engagement and Learning Supports. Classroom Magazines have 15 million subscribers.
During the mid-1990s, Scholastic entered the educational technology market, working with Dr. Ted Hasselbring of Vanderbilt University to create READ 180, a blended-learning, reading intervention program for students in grades 4 through 12 who are two or more grades below grade level. Since then, READ 180 has been listed in the What Works Clearinghouse and has a record of positive results in a wide range of efficacy studies with various student populations, including special education students and English language learners. Scholastic Education has since created SYSTEM 44, a technology-based phonics program for students in grades 3 through 12, iREAD, a supplemental educational technology program for grades K-2, MATH 180, mathematics intervention for middle school, and FasttMath, a technology based program to teach basic math facts. The EdTech and Services business was sold to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2015 for $575 million.
To appeal to American children, in 1997, Scholastic (through Arthur A. Levine Books) purchased the U.S. publication rights to the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone; it was renamed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. It continues to publish Harry Potter books, each title a best seller.
Scholastic's growth has continued by acquiring other media companies. In February 2012, it bought Weekly Reader Publishing from Reader's Digest Association, and announced in July that year that it planned to discontinue separate issues of Weekly Reader magazines after more than a century of publication, and co-branded the magazines as "Scholastic News/Weekly Reader". Other acquisitions include Klutz in 2002, and the reference publisher Grolier, which publishes the Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia and The New Book of Knowledge in 2000 and Weston Woods Studios in 1996. In 2015, Scholastic acquired Troubadour, Ltd. in the U.K.
During the 2000 presidential election, Scholastic organized the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps, which today includes more than 30 national and International kid reporters ages 10–14.
Founded in 1923 by Maurice R. Robinson, The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, administered by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, have motivated more than 13 million students, recognized more than 9 million young artists and writers, and provided more than $25 million in awards and scholarships. These Awards have been the largest source of scholarship funding for teenage artists and writers, and the nation's longest-running, most prestigious art and writing awards.
In the U.S.A, the process begins as young artists and writers submit creative works to the Alliance's regional affiliates. The most outstanding works of art and writing (Gold Key and Silver Key winners) from each region are forwarded to the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers in New York City to be reviewed on a national level. Panels of professional jurors select the national award recipients. Regional awards are administered by a network of nearly 100 affiliates that include school systems and school boards, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, foundations, arts agencies, businesses, libraries, museums, teacher councils and institutions of higher education, which share a commitment to identifying emerging local artists and writers.
The Awards recognize written and artistic works in 30 categories, including Architecture, Comic Art, Ceramics & Glass, Digital Art, Design, Drawing, Fashion, Film & Animation, Jewelry, Mixed Media, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, Video Games, Art Portfolio, Photography Portfolio, Dramatic Script, Humor, Journalism, Personal Essay/Memoir, Persuasive Writing, Poetry, Novel Writing, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Short Story, Short, Short Story, General Writing Portfolio, Nonfiction Portfolio, and Creativity & Citizenship.
Recipients of The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards include Richard Anuszkiewicz, Richard Avedon, Harry Bertoia, Mel Bochner, Truman Capote, Paul Davis, Frances Farmer, Red Grooms, Robert Indiana, Bernard Malamud, Joyce Maynard, Joyce Carol Oates, Philip Pearlstein, Peter S. Beagle, Sylvia Plath, Robert Redford, Jean Stafford, Mozelle Thompson, Ned Vizzini, Kay WalkingStick, Andy Warhol, and Charles White, all of whom won when they were in high school.
Trade Publishing Imprints include:
Scholastic Media is a corporate division led by Deborah Forte since 1995. It covers "all forms of media and consumer products, and is comprised of four main groups – Productions, Marketing & Consumer Products, Interactive, and Audio." Weston Woods is its production studio, acquired in 1996, as was Soup2Nuts from 2001–2015 before shutting down.
Scholastic has produced audiobooks such as the Caldecott/Newbery Collection; TV serial adaptations such as Clifford the Big Red Dog, Animorphs, The Magic School Bus, and Goosebumps; and feature films such as Tuck Everlasting, Clifford's Really Big Movie, Goosebumps, The Golden Compass, and Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. It will produce the 39 Clues and as Scholastic Productions produced the series Voyagers!, My Secret Identity, and Charles in Charge.
Scholastic book clubs are offered at schools in many countries. Typically, teachers administer the program to the students in their own classes, but in some cases, the program is administered by a central contact for the entire school. Within Scholastic, Reading Clubs is a separate unit (compared to, e.g., Education). Reading clubs are arranged by age/grade.
Scholastic also offers a host of specialty book club fliers including Club Leo (Spanish language for grades K–8), and Click (Computer games and media for all ages).
Scholastic typically offers participating schools and classrooms 1 "point" for every dollar (or local unit of currency) of products ordered. Additional points may be earned during special promotion times, such as the beginning of the school year. Points may then be redeemed for books and school supplies at a rate of approximately 20 points to the dollar. At minimum, schools earn 5% of book orders in free products. With special promotions, return rate can be higher (15–100%).
Under the guidance of the Rainforest Alliance and other environmental groups, Scholastic set a goal to have 30 percent of the publication paper it buys be Forest Stewardship Council-certified within five years. A quarter of the paper it uses also will be recycled, with 75 percent being post-consumer waste.
Scholastic Parents Media publishes the Scholastic Parent & Child Magazine. The group also specializes in online advertising sales and custom programs designed for parents and children ages 0–6.
Scholastic has been criticized for inappropriately marketing to children. Also, Scholastic now requires parents to submit children's names with birth dates to place online orders, creating controversy. A significant number of titles carried have strong media tie-ins and are considered relatively short in literary and artistic merit by some critics. Consumer groups have also attacked Scholastic for selling too many toys and video games to children, rather than focusing on just books. In July, 2005, Scholastic determined that certain leases previously accounted for as operating leases should have been accounted for as capital leases. The cumulative effect, if recorded in the current year, would be material. As a result, it decided to restate its financial statements.