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'Literacy One' Takes To The Skies On Historic Flight

September 06, 2007

Press Releases

Cathay Pacific Airways, Room to Read and Scholastic Inc today announced the historic flight of "Literacy One," a new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft that will carry a portion of generously donated books from Scholastic across the Pacific during the 2007 holiday season to Room to Read libraries in Asia -- and into the hands of children in the developing world. The announcement of the Literacy One flight was made at a press conference today by Christopher Pratt, Chairman, Cathay Pacific Airways, Frank Wong, President, Scholastic Asia and John Wood, the Founder and CEO of Room to Read.

The Literacy One flight coincides with the launch of the Literacy One Challenge, a year-long effort by students in America and Asia to raise money in support of Room to Read's innovative and award-winning local language publishing program. These efforts will assure that each Room to Read library is bilingual - with the English language books from Scholastic and the local language books funded by students who raise money through Read-a-Thons, coin drives, and other creative fund-raising ideas. The campaign kicks off September 6, 2007 and will continue throughout the 2007-2008 school year.

In celebration of the opening of Room to Read's 5,000th library in November, these highly regarded organizations have teamed up to support Room to Read's rapid expansion of its network of bilingual libraries with Scholastic's donation of more than 400,000 new children's books. The "Literacy One" flight, scheduled to take place during the 2007 holiday season, will take-off from Boeing Airfield in Seattle and will arrive at Cathay Pacific Airways' home base in Hong Kong, where the books will make their way to Room to Read libraries throughout Asia. Lining the tarmac in both Seattle and Hong Kong will be students taking part in the Literacy One Challenge. This flight kicks-off Room to Read's campaign to move beyond the 5,000-library milestone, with an ambitious plan to be at 10,000 libraries by the end of 2010.

Room to Read's mission is to provide under-privileged children with an opportunity to gain the lifelong gift of reading and education. Since its inception, Room to Read has established more than 3,800 libraries, built 287 schools, published 147 new local language children's titles, donated three-million books, established 136 computer and language labs and funded 3,448 long-term girls' scholarships. To date, these projects have impacted the lives of more than 1.3 million children in the developing world with programs in Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.

Room to Read's Local Language Publishing Program books are created by local authors and artists, with stories relevant to the children's culture and language. The books will also include a special dedication on behalf of the participating students and schools who raise enough funds for the book to be published.

"We are thrilled by the generosity of Cathay Pacific Airways and Scholastic to deliver the initial 400,000 books to our Asian libraries and help us kick off the Literacy One Challenge," said John Wood, the Founder and CEO of Room to Read. "In the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami, students from more than 200 schools around the world raised more than $500,000 to help Room to Read rebuild schools in Sri Lanka. By the one-year anniversary of the tsunami, we had collectively opened 39 schools. The Literacy One Challenge is the next great opportunity for students to show the world that youthful idealism, coupled with a passion for philanthropy, can help us bring the lifelong gift of education to millions of children across the developing world."

Cathay Pacific's Chairman Christopher Pratt said: "We are delighted to be able to contribute to such a worthwhile cause as the Literacy One Challenge, which dovetails with our own community goal of helping young people achieve more in life. We fully support Room to Read's efforts to make books available to more children in Asia and it gives us great pleasure to be able to make use of the delivery of one of our new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to facilitate their transport from the US to Asia."

"Scholastic is dedicated to spreading the joy of reading around the world," said Frank Wong, President of Scholastic Asia. "By teaming up with Room to Read, we are able to put books in the hands of children who may never have had the chance to read a book, or even learn to read."

Throughout the Literacy One Challenge the Room to Read website will offer updates on fundraising efforts and advice on creative fundraising ideas at Awards and recognition for "most funds raised" for the Literacy One Challenge as well as other categories including "most creative" and "a little goes along way" will be presented. Winners will also be featured on Room to Read's website and the Students Helping Students newsletter with award prizes to be announced closer to date. An "achievement award" will be given to the school that raises the most funding, while other awards will honor the "most creative idea", the "best video" shot by students of their fund-raising effort and posted to YouTube, and the school with the highest percentage of its students participating.

About Room to Read / Students Helping Students

Room to Read's Students Helping Students campaign encourages students, teachers and their communities to partner with Room to Read to take a stand against global illiteracy and the lack of educational opportunities in the developing world. Through a service-learning model, students learn about the geography, language and culture of the countries in which Room to Read works, as well as cultivate valuable leadership skills and an entrepreneurial spirit through fundraising campaigns that benefit Room to Read's programs.

About Room to Read / Local Language Publishing

Room to Read's Local Language Publishing program publishes books relevant to children in their own country and in their local languages. To date 147 children's books have been published in Khmer, Hindi, Lao, Nepali, Sinhalese, Tamil, and Vietnamese by sourcing and publishing new children's literature within all of the countries in which Room to Read works. The books are created entirely in-country, working with local writers and illustrators to develop new culturally relevant children's books. Many of these stories are adapted from local folktales; other stories are sourced from various writing competitions and writers' workshops that are sponsored and held by Room to Read. Bilingual books are subsequently translated into English, with the goal of maintaining the local flavor and integrity of the story. All of Room to Read's local language books are printed within the respective countries in order to promote the local economy and create jobs.

About Room to Read

Room to Read partners with local communities throughout the developing world to establish schools, libraries, and other educational infrastructure. We seek to intervene early in the lives of children in the belief that education is a lifelong gift that empowers people to ultimately improve socioeconomic conditions for their families, communities, countries, and future generations. Through the opportunities that only an education can provide, we strive to break the cycle of poverty, one child at a time.

The organization is currently establishing educational infrastructure in Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Zambia. Room to Read has built 287 schools, established over 3,800 libraries, published 147 new local language children's titles, donated three-million books, established 136 computer and language labs and funded 3,448 long-terms girls' scholarships. To date, these projects have impacted the lives of over 1.3 million children. John Wood's recent memoir, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World (Harper Collins 2006) traces the incredible journey of Room to Read from John's first book delivery in Nepal to the world class organization it is today.

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About Scholastic

Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books and a leader in educational technology. Scholastic creates quality educational and entertaining materials and products for use in school and at home, including children's books, magazines, technology-based products, teacher materials, television programming, film, videos and toys. The Company distributes its products and services through a variety of channels, including proprietary school-based book clubs, school-based book fairs, and school-based and direct-to-home continuity programs; retail stores, schools, libraries and television networks; and the Company's Internet site,