James Patterson awards $500 grants to thousands of teachers

FILE - Author James Patterson poses for a portrait in New York on Aug. 30, 2016. Thousands of schoolteachers will receive $500 grants from Patterson. The grants are to help students build reading skills, especially as schools struggle to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic. The grant program is administered by Patterson and by Scholastic Book Clubs.

NEW YORK (AP) — Thousands of schoolteachers will receive $500 grants from author James Patterson to help students build reading skills, especially as schools struggle to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Whether students are learning virtually at home or in the classroom, the importance of keeping them reading cannot be underscored enough," Patterson said in a statement Tuesday.

“Reading teaches kids empathy, gives them an escape when they most need it, helps them grapple with harsh realities, and perhaps most importantly, will remind them that they are not alone — even if they’re unable to see their teachers, classmates and friends in-person," he said.

The grant program is administered by Patterson and by Scholastic Book Clubs, which will provide teachers 500 club points to go with the $500 from Patterson. Out of more than 100,000 applicants, 5,000 teachers will receive grants and club points.

Tuesday's announcement marks the sixth installment in the Patterson Partnership for building home and school libraries. Patterson, one of the world's best-selling novelists, has given more than $11 million to teachers, along with millions he has given to bookstores, libraries and literacy organizations.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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