Educational publisher Scholastic Inc. has created a new web site intended to foster a lifelong love of reading among students. Billed as the “ultimate … multimedia experience for kids who love books,” Flashlight Readers invites young learners to join a virtual reading club, which allows them to participate in moderated author chats, trade instant messages with other readers, explore authors’ original manuscripts, and play interactive games designed to bring their favorite books to life. Targeted at students in grades 3-5, the site features popular titles such as Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillio, now the subject of a major motion picture; Louis Sachar’s Holes; and Pam Munoz Ryan’s Esperanza Rising. Each exploration includes a Teacher’s Guide that offers lessons and activities to help teachers meet national standards, as well as a Parent’s Guide with advice on how to use the reading club at home. Others features include an interactive comprehension maze, a book bulletin board, and book-related prizes, such as signed author photographs.
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