Sunday, April 29, 2007

NBC's Today Launches Al's Book Club For Kids

Summer is all about fun for kids, but it is also an important time to keep kids' reading skills sharp. To avoid what some call the "Summer Slide"- a common loss of skills attributed to being out of school for a period of time -- "Today" is launching "Al's Book Club For Kids," a series to keep kids engaged in reading all summer long. This new "Today" series coincides with the Scholastic Summer Reading BUZZ!(TM) Campaign to help get kids reading "Four or More" books to combat the summer slide.

On Friday, April 27, "Al's Book Club For Kids" will kick-off and the first of four books that kids can read and discuss over the summer on "Today" will be announced. At the same time, the Scholastic Summer Reading BUZZ! gets underway - a campaign that gets kids reading and champions the important role parents, educators and librarians - and even Al Roker - can play in helping kids find books they will love to read. According to The Kids and Family Reading Report(TM), kids' reading frequency dramatically declines at the age of eight and one of the main factors for this is because they can't find books they like to read.

Each month during the summer, Al and a group of young book club members, ages 9-11, will meet in Rockefeller Plaza for their monthly book club meeting to talk about the selected book and ask questions of the author. "Al's Book Club For Kids" plans to meet four times, and kids everywhere are encouraged to visit "Today" on the Plaza when the club convenes and bring a copy of Al's monthly pick to be signed by the author. Stay tuned for date announcements.

"Al's Book Club For Kids" will have extensive online components at and Parents and kids alike from across the country can be part of the club by e-mailing questions for the authors, who will answer a select few live on "Today." will continue the discussions with the author online after each book club segment airs. In addition, at (launching May 15) kids can access fun book-themed activities, join a book community and create their own reading log. Parents, teachers and librarians can also find expert advice on reading and age-appropriate summer book lists for kids in English and Spanish, as well as downloadable materials that will help engage kids in reading.

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