School Days With Scholastic Books

Today I was gonna do a nostalgic post about another movie, maybe seeing The Empire Strikes Back or Raiders of The Lost Ark for the first time. Both of them stand out in my memory like lighthouses. But, as I ruminated on Raiders, I realized  I didn’t get to see it when it first came out, I saw it a few months on.

I know this because I read the novel first. Which I had bought through a great school program, which I hope still exists. The Scholastic Books program.

I had my first brush with the program in 1977, when I came into class, and the teacher handed out thses little flimsy flyers covered in pictures of books…

And I got my first one, which was… surprise….

The Star Wars Storybook!! And this thing went everywhere with me, I remember bringing it on countless car trips out east to St. Stephen, New Brunswick to visit family.

As the years progressed I got the Empire and Jedi ones as well, though people were starting to point out that I may be too old for something with the word ‘storybook’ in the title.

That didn’t stop me from getting the Raiders of the Lost Ark one when it came out in 1981 though.

I also got this great yellow covered Star Wars one that featured C-3PO and R2 as they answered questions about space, Mars and the like! Star Wars and actual space stuff?? What’s not to like about that?

I remember that after ordering the books, bringing the money from home, and handing it over to our teacher, came the long insufferable wait, much like an endless car ride of waiting, and waiting, and “Are they here yet?”

But then came the moment when you came back to school after lunch, yes, being an air force brat had its perks, when we lived on base, you were always close enough to go home for lunch. There sitting on your desk would be the books you ordered.

Some people handled it better than othere, me, I wouldn’t be able to concentrate for the rest of the day because I would be constantly sneaking a peek at pictures, reading the back cover AGAIN.

But through this program, I was constantly reading, had an enormous collection of movie-tie-in novels, and a slew of Dynamite magazines!

This for me, was a great way to encourage reading.

The flyer was divided into different age groups, and I would occasionally dip either way, younger or older, especially if Star Wars was involved, or there was a cool looking movie out with a tie-in book, I read Krull for pete’s sake!

Everyone went through them, almost all my classmates bought a book, there were so many copies of Jacob Two-Two and Garfield books floating around!

I think this is a fantastic program, and while I know books are no where near as cheap as they were when I was young, (just reading the cover prices of some of the books I have make me sigh and say, remember the days?) I do hope this program is continuing.

I like when I see kids reading. In fact when the Harry Potter books were initially released, I loved seeing these tiny kids lugging around these big harcover books, or sitting and reading them.

Reading needs to be encouraged and fostered. I think programs like this do that.

I certainly didn’t realize it at the time, I just knew I was getting cool stuff to read, and I think that’s the key to getting kids to read, is giving them things they are interested in and let the love of reading grow from that.

But I’m biased in that regard, I love to read.

And while I don’t always miss school, I do miss those flyers, and all the cool books that lay within.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. LC says:

    I was reminded of the Scholastic book club, when I came across “Raiders”, “Empire” and “E.T.”, as I was sorting through some old things! The company is still around (though I’m sure the ordering is done online now vs. those booklet/flyers :). I saw their website, when I was trying to find out whether the books had any value… and that’s what led me to your blog.

    I whole-heartedly agree that anything that can get children into reading is a good thing. Thanks for “reminiscing out loud”!

    1. TD Rideout says:

      Yeah, Scholastic is still around and the program is apparently still around as well. You’re right though, it was great combing through those flyers when I got them in school. I love those books. Glad you stopped by to say hi! Come back again (and again and again) :).

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