Thousands of schoolteachers will receive $500 grants from author James Patterson to help students build reading skills, especially as schools struggle to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic. Patterson has donated $2.5 million through his Patterson Partnership program with Scholastic Book Clubs. The grant program which is administered by Patterson and by Scholastic Book Clubs, which will provide teachers 500 club points to go with the $500 from Patterson. Out of more than 100,000 applicants, 5,000 teachers will receive grants and club points.
“Whether students are learning virtually at home or in the classroom, the importance of keeping them reading cannot be underscored enough. Reading teaches kids empathy, gives them an escape when they most need it, helps them grapple with harsh realities, and perhaps most importantly, will remind them that they are not alone — even if they’re unable to see their teachers, classmates and friends in-person,” Patterson said in a statement.
Funds from the Patterson Partnership are awarded directly to individual teachers and are to be used solely for the purchase of books for classroom libraries. Winning teachers had the choice of either a direct deposit into their Scholastic Book Clubs account or a check sent via USPS. The 500 Bonus Points will also be directly deposited into winning teachers’ Book Club accounts. This is the sixth year Patterson Partnership has issued the grants through its’ partnership with Scholastic Book Club.
Patterson, one of the world’s best-selling novelists, has given more than $11 million to teachers, along with millions he has given to bookstores, libraries and literacy organizations. This is the sixth installment in the Patterson Partnership for building home and school libraries. He has been donating and campaigning for donations for several years.
Judy Newman, president of Scholastic Book Clubs, added, “Teachers are always at the front lines of educating all our children and introducing them to books and reading—no matter what else is going on in the world. As the Covid-19 crisis has shown, the hard work and dedication of America’s teachers—and what is demanded of them—cannot be overstated.”
In April 2020, Patterson helped launch a campaign to save independent booksellers, an industry that has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. The campaign called #SaveIndieBookstores, is a partnership between Patterson, actress Reese Witherspoon’s book club, the American Booksellers Association and the Book Industry Charitable Foundation. Patterson personally contributed $500,000 to that campaign and called for fellow authors and book fans to join him in making donations to the fund.