Weekly Reader is dead

I heard this on the news the other night, and I mourn our loss. Weekly Reader, that staple of elementary school classrooms since 1928, won’t be back this fall. After bouncing around among different owners, Weekly Reader landed in Scholastic’s lap earlier this year and will be turned into a zombified version of itself and folded into an existing Scholastic publication.

Weekly Reader helped teach kids how to read and—just as importantly (Hello!)—about current events.  And while we might think the time-honored publication is just the latest victim in the decline of print media, there’s another reason. Here’s the money quote, from The New York Times’ Media Decoder:   

While it is tempting to see the close of Weekly Reader as another example of a shrinking print audience, Mr. Goff said that would be misleading. Rather, he pointed to the focus on teaching to the test that has made anything other than math and reading extraneous. “There has been a general loss of teaching kids about current events,” he said. “That is something that has been squeezed out of the classroom.”

I loved Weekly Reader when I was a kid. I was curious about other countries and I also liked to read those old orange and green-bound biographies of presidents. I feel like education has just taken another step backward.

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