Leveraging the power of print is key to expanding educational opportunities--especially during at-home learning

Thorndike Press Partners with Beanstack and Mark Cuban to Sponsor ‘Level Up’ National K-12 Summer 2021 Reading Challenge

Schools Invited to Join the Challenge This Coming June 2021; Winnings Include Cash Prizes, Large Print Book Collections and Virtual Author Visit

Thorndike Press from Gale, a Cengage company, has teamed up with Beanstack and Mark Cuban to bring schools a national K-12 summer reading challenge, ‘Level Up.’ The challenge was designed to lessen the impact of summer slide and keep students engaged and reading all summer long. Schools can win cash prizes, book collections or a virtual visit from Newbery award-winning author, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. The challenge is free, but schools must register to participate. It will run June 1, 2021 through July 15, 2021.

“We recognize the impact of COVID and remote learning on student literacy and want to give educators a turnkey way to support young readers,” said Felix Lloyd, Zoobean Co-Founder. “The Level Up reading challenge is a great way to keep students motivated, engaged and reading throughout the summer and we are excited to partner with Thorndike and Mark Cuban who share our vision and commitment to helping students achieve their reading goals.”

Students can choose to read books from any genre or format to participate. Large print books will be among the formats featured in the challenge, which studies show improve reading speed, boost reading comprehension and work especially well with readers who are below their grade level.

In order for books read to count toward the challenge, readers must track their reading progress using the Beanstack app. Students can access the app via web or mobile to log their reading, earn virtual badges, track stats, engage with friends and discover their next favorite book. Additionally, parents can download the app and link directly to their child’s school.

“Schools and parents are always searching for ways to better engage with students during the summer,” said Mark Cuban, billionaire investor and Shark Tank personality. “The Level Up reading challenge is a great way to keep students reading, even when they’re not in the classroom.”

Winning schools will be determined by the most amount of time their students spent reading. Cash prizes are being provided by Mark Cuban with Thorndike Press awarding prize packs of large print book collections to winning schools as well as a virtual visit from Newbery award-winning author Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.

Prizes include:

  • Grand Prize: $5,000 and $1,000 of large print books and a virtual author chat with the school.
  • Second Place: $2,500 and $500 of large print books.
  • Four (4) Runner Ups: $2,500 and $250 of large print books.

“During the summer, many students lose up to two months of learning, and with the disruption COVID has caused, reading programs are even more critical,” said Paul Gazzolo, senior vice president and general manager at Gale. “Public libraries have seen great success in retaining and building literacy skills through summer reading programs. The Level Up challenge gives schools an amazing opportunity to support student literacy this summer and we are thrilled to partner with Beanstack and Mark Cuban to make it happen.”

For more information about the 2021 Level Up Summer Reading Challenge, visit the challenge webpage.

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