The last Weekly Reader?
Weekly Reader, now owned by Scholastic, will cease independent publication this school year.
July 25th, 2012
06:15 AM ET

The last Weekly Reader?

by Donna Krache, CNN

(CNN) The Weekly Reader title may hold fond memories for you, but it won’t be around the way you remember it for your kids.

The magazine that brought us all kinds of kid-appropriate stories, from presidential elections to fuzzy animals, is ceasing independent publication after more than a century in classrooms.

Scholastic, which started as a classroom magazine in 1920, purchased Weekly Reader this past February from Readers Digest Association, Inc.  In recent months, Scholastic says that its editors, along with those from Weekly Reader, met with teachers to determine which features of each publication would serve their audiences in different grades and subject areas.

Beginning this school year, Scholastic Classroom Magazines will offer what the company hopes is the best of both worlds in print and digital formats.  The magazines will be co-branded with titles such as Junior Scholastic/Current Events and Scholastic News/Weekly Reader.

Representatives from Scholastic would not comment on reported layoffs at Weekly Reader, saying only that some Weekly Reader staff are working for Scholastic, while others are “in consideration for jobs” or not interested in commuting to the Scholastic offices in New York City.

In an email statement to CNN, Cathy Lasiewicz, Senior Director at Scholastic Corporate Communications, said “We are confident that the combined Scholastic News/Weekly Reader team will now offer an even better news and information experience in print and digital formats for teachers and students.” 

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Filed under: Early childhood • Elementary school • Practice • Publications
soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. APB

    Loved Weekly Readers as a kid, loved sharing them with my children and continued to enjoy them with my preschool classes. So disappointed, saddened.

    August 4, 2012 at 1:37 am |
  2. Shirley

    When I was in elementary school, I was paired with a pen-pal in Scotland by THE WEEKLY READER. Now, FIFTY-NINE years later, we are still connected. Oh, Eileen and I don't "write" much anymore – except for holiday and special occasion greeting cards. But, we do talk, regularly, the third Monday of EACH month, either via Skype or phone. This Sept., Eileen and her husband will be visiting my husband and me for 10 days. It is their 5th visit to our home. We have visited them 11 times. Besides sharing our local areas with each other, the four of us have holidayed together in the American West, the Canadian Rockies, the Isle of Guernsey, Norway, and Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. My world became a lot larger because of THE WEEKLY READER. I have one sibling, a sister, and I love her dearly. She is my sister by birth and by blood. I've long called Eileen "my sister by ink." I love her, too. It is with much sadness that I read of the demise of an organization that had such a positive and enriching effect on my life. THANK YOU, WEEKLY READER!

    July 31, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  3. dancingfrog

    Rememner! My love of reading & the Weekly Reader. Anticipation from week to week. I payed for my subscription as I got older w/babysiting money.

    I would gladly underwrite my small grandchildren & great-grandchildren's subscription if it were to continue. 100 yrs of reading about many things, places, people.

    If it ain't broke, perhaps it souldn't be fixed?

    July 29, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • RetiredTeach

      Used it in my 4th grade classes for 26 years...some of that east TX oil money put to good use in my school district!!Kids enjoyed it-me too.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
  4. Bob Foss

    I first remember My Weekly Reader in the mid 1950s, it was always something to look forward to. Today's kids don't have than anticipation...even in early grades, kids are addicted to their electronic devices. I feel sorry for the kids of today.

    July 29, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  5. debnev

    Weekly Reader was a wonderful little company made up of incredibly dedicated, creative people who cared a great deal about children, teachers, fairness, and accuracy. If you had interviewed someone from Weekly Reader and not just the pr spokesperson from Scholastic, you would hear a very different story about what happened. Essentially, Goliath defeated David. Sad.

    July 29, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  6. robbie

    i remember first hearing about the twin towers in weekly reader as a first grader in 1963....really used to enjoy that little publication.

    July 29, 2012 at 3:44 am |
    • SearsTowerFan

      Your memory appears to be off a bit, friend. The design for the Twin Towers was not made public until 1964, and of course, the buildings themselves took nearly ten more years to build. (Or perhaps WR had an inside scoop, eh?)

      July 29, 2012 at 11:07 am |
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    July 28, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
  8. jmarm

    I went down to my scrapbook and found my 1946 copy of Weekly Reader🙂

    July 28, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
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    July 28, 2012 at 8:21 am |
  10. Elaine

    I remember being handed my Weekly Reader, and then having to WAIT until school was done to open those pages. It was an experience I treausre to this day. It instilled in me a love of the written word, proper spelling, good grammar, and comprehension, which I find is sadly lacking in today's society.

    July 28, 2012 at 7:51 am |
    • jmarm

      I so agree with you Elaine.

      July 28, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • TAJW

      I also remember getting the order blank for the SBS books, then going home and begging my parents for money to order them... 35 cents each was about average, I believe, back in the early sixties.

      Then when the book order came in, nobody could find me for few days while I found some comfortable place out in the woods and read to my heart's content.

      July 28, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
      • susan

        Exactly! Getting my book orders was like Christmas. SBS led to a lifetime love of reading

        July 29, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  11. Ken in So. Calif.

    Around 1952 there was a small charge to have it mailed to our home through the summer. I looked forward to each arrival, admittedly partly because it was the only mail addressed precisely to me. The inhospitable atmosphere of Venus, how multistage rockets work, . . . oh, I learned so much as a 12-year old. Great memories.

    July 28, 2012 at 6:35 am |
  12. Someone in Columbus

    Back in the day, the Weekly Reader came like a newspaper, which each page being a complete newspaper. She would walk around the classroom and basically peel off a paper for each of us. Most of us hated it if I recall correctly – I know I did.

    July 28, 2012 at 12:29 am |
  13. jmarm

    Weekly Reader may be a metaphor for the changing world in that not everything old is outdated and not everything new is revolutionary. I read the reader in 1943 and throughout my schooling, then went on to teach school for 42 years. As I recall it was not biased and reported a lot of geography and culture. I loved it and am now an officer in a historical society. My grandchildren have learned political science and the world about us in different ways and have turned out to intelligent, productive, kind citizens.

    July 27, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
  14. OLDGREYWOLF

    MANY MOONS AGO I HAD A SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHER THAT BROUGHT INTO CLASS 3 LOCAL PAPERS, 1 FROM L.A. AND A LONDON PAPER. WE HAD TO READ ABOUT A SPECIAL EVENT. WOW, EACH PAPER HAD A DIFFERENT SLANT/VIEW. THEN HE GAVE US 3 TEXT BOOKS FROM THE SAME PUBLISHER..ONE WRITTEN FOR THE NORTH, ONE FOR THE SOUTH AND ONE FOR THE WEST. AGAIN THEY WERE A DIFFERENT RETELLING OF HISTORY. THE LESSON FOR THAT WEEK WAS "THINK, NOT EVERYTHING IN PRINT IS TRUE"
    SO IN THE LIGHT OF MY LEARNING I ASK THE QUESTION...HOW MANY DIFFERENT VERSION OF THE WEEKLY READER ARE THERE? AND WHAT ARE THEIR VIEWS?

    July 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  15. Lsteel

    I remember reading about the space program and learning about two space vehicles that would "rendezvous". My first French word! Back in the day, I learned a lot from the Weekly Reader. I hope today's kids will be encouraged to read, read, read, whether on-line or hard copy. Just READ!

    July 27, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  16. hypatia

    This is very sad. I remember Weekly Reader very fondly. Now it will be replaced by fascisti Texas crap.

    July 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  17. About Home and Garden

    It is perfect time to make a few plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I have read this post and if I may just I want to counsel you few fascinating things or advice. Maybe you can write next articles regarding this article. I want to read more things about it!

    July 27, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  18. Kitty

    In 2nd grade (1956) in southe Georgia, I remember an article with a picture of a candy wrapper in a stream. The article was about pollution of water sources. That was when I learned two vocabulary words: pollution and environment. I, too, felt "grown up" reading a "newspaper."

    July 27, 2012 at 9:19 am |
  19. candros

    Thank God they are getting rid of the weekly reader. The articles are amazingly biased – for school children!! This year they had an article about how Barack Obama was saving the country with health care reform. Well, I had to explain to my private school kids that WE will be paying for everyone else's health care (not like we are not already doing so) under this crazy plan. I have to reprogram my kids after every issue.

    July 27, 2012 at 7:25 am |
    • The One Who Knows

      Ooohhh...and we THANK you for it all...(rolls eyes).

      Get a life, you hoser!

      July 27, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • Sue

      Shame on you for insinuating YOUR bias into the school day.

      July 27, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Sue

      ?

      July 27, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • hypatia

      Too bad you can't be shoved in a printing press.

      July 27, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
      • janey33

        My, how "tolerant" of you.

        July 28, 2012 at 1:03 am |
    • WHAT?

      Well, you do have the right to not allow them to read it – find something more suitable. The thing is that Weekly Reader was almost made as a status symbol or peer pressure item – we had to pay for ours and some kids could not afford it – so it became a "I have something you don't" item.

      July 27, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • markie

      Candios, you must be a conservative who can't stand anything that is too leftish-like comparisons between wealth and poor. I was too happy to read it and it helped create my reading habit and it helped me to think in unbiased ways. Scholastic was too one sided and boring. You need to be open on ALL sides. Academic studies require unbiased approach by fostering open discussion.I do not like one-sided news. I am happy I don't watch fox news-

      July 27, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Tim

      Yeah, re-program them with lies and your biases. Raising robots who can't think for themselves. Such a pity.

      July 27, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
      • janey33

        And an article about Obama and his health care isn't biased and full of lies??? Seems that you are the robot.

        July 28, 2012 at 12:55 am |
    • Redoran

      So, right away you make this political. I am 69 years young and remember the Weekly Reader with Love.

      July 28, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  20. Solo

    I loved Weekly Reader, even though we had to pay for my subscription as a kid – it's tough to say, but kids need higher priority tools right now in the classroom. My taxes are paying for two of their meals a day also, and it's not yielded any success in testing or graduation. We're living in a time when the pure, simple and meaningful things are being replaced with disposable garbage. The things we call "vintage" are the best things we can honor and remember. But, when you've got teachers in classrooms that cannot even answer questions such as "What is the capital of Vermont?" then you know things are bad. We need standards, not higher taxes.
    Sorry to see that Scholastic could not see the benefit of maybe rewarding those schools who do achieve excellence. In the end, we all suffer for the low achievers.

    July 26, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • Nina

      Bravo, Solo! Perfectly said.

      July 28, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
  21. Lizzie Lou

    Anyone remember Goofus and Gallant in the Weekly Reader?

    July 26, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • a guest

      Goofus and Gallant were in the Highlights magazine if I remember correctly.

      July 26, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
      • Lizzie Lou

        you are absolutely right! Senior moment!

        July 26, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • iammeyouareyou

      YES ! My daughter still olves to read the Weekly Reader in 6th grade. Sad that some corporate genuis thinks that it is old fashioned and needs to be "merged" and changed. LEafve it alone. THere is a good reason it has been around for 100 years you idiots.

      July 26, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  22. Vasilisa Hamilton

    I enjoyed getting "Weekly Reader" when I was in elementary school here in South Carolina. It made me feel grown-up because my late father was an avid newspaper reader. The issue that impacted me most was printed in 1977, featuring actor Levar Burton, who played Kunta Kinte in Alex Haley's "Roots. An American Saga."

    July 26, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  23. Pam

    I'm the same age as Donna, and I too looked forward to Weekly Reader each week; it would be great to still have some innoncence in what children read and see.

    July 26, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  24. Donna Cornish

    My favorite childhood memories were getting our Weekly Readers on Fridays at school. I still think of them and I am 56! Our kids still need that purity ~

    July 26, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  25. Parent

    @Jan – in our school district, parents pay for the subscription. It is around $5-6 a year and just one of our extra "fees"

    July 26, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Josh

      I would not have a problem paying such, if it meant my kids would still get a copy of Weekly Reader.

      July 26, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  26. Bratfink

    Wow. Well, I guess things never remain the same, but it's a shame. I'm 56 now, but I remember the Weekly Reader fondly. It was an introduction to newspaper type reporting for a lot of kids. But since newspapers seem to be changing I guess the Weekly Reader needs to change too to reflect those changes. Still, it's sort of sad.

    July 26, 2012 at 9:39 am |
  27. Hogan's Goat

    I used to love the Weekly Reader until they ran some kind of scam on me in the late 80s and sent me a bunch of kiddie books and a bill. I realized they'd been bought out and were just a name.

    July 26, 2012 at 9:34 am |
  28. DRKellogg

    I remember reading about Able and Baker, the first monkeys to go into space and return alive, when I was in the 3rd grade in my Weekly Reader. It's too bad some things can't go on forever.

    July 26, 2012 at 7:53 am |
  29. 22X Richer

    Fond memories.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Kaitlyn

      Fond memories for sure! Even though I live in "small town" Virginia, and after all these years, it makes me smile to remember growing up with Prince Charles because of the Weekly Reader. Thanks for the memories!

      July 28, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  30. Jan from Holly Springs

    With school budgets tanking, how will schools afford to buy the new Scholastic magazines?

    July 25, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Josh

      It would not surprise me that in such cases, the reading teacher paid out of their own pocket.

      July 26, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  31. TRH

    sad.

    July 25, 2012 at 4:57 pm |