Diving Deep

Scholastic Books

>> Scholastic leads with book sales.

Scholastic's book fairs generate huge sales and exposure.  Teachers use the website, but it's not popular with students.

>> But their website, 'Stacks,' is about games, not reading.

Most reading sites are subscription-only,  and trend toward mobile-only. Reading  is limited to a few screens. There is a huge emphasis on games and fun activities.

FREE • Desktop only

8–13 years old

Games based on Scholastic's huge collection of books


Mobile only

4–12 years olds

Huge on line book library


Desktop only

3–12 years old

Good visuals, mostly games.


Mobile only

3+ years old

Fun. Books for order only

>> Research reveals kid's 'real' reading habits

Interviews with teachers, parents and kids showed that kids  not only love reading, but they much prefer reading paper books than digital media.

Sources of reading are numerous; book choice appears to be a major factor in kids' reading process.

Pleasure from reading:

70% of kids say they enjoy reading.

Yet about 33% of those struggle
to find a book to read.

Device use:

80% use a laptop.

75% use a device 45 minutes a day, while reading only 5–10 minutes of that time on line. Remaining time is spent on games, etc.

Source of Book recommendations:

• Friend's suggestions.

• TV and movies

• Teachers recommendations.

• Parent recommendations.

How they read:

85% read paper books rather
than digital.

Most prefer to read alone, privately
in their rooms.

>> Discovery: Reading choice can be an and obstacle

Kids definitely enjoy reading, but to engage, they need their own particular setting. Kids like to read alone, often in their rooms; privacy can be important starting around the 5th grade. Privacy offers a break from well-meaning parents and teachers who create expectations when they suggest books to read. This dynamic can cause anxiety for many young readers.

>> Lanie: Loves reading but has a hard time choosing books

 LANIE  Age 10, 5th grade

Lanie likes to read but it's hard to get started. She tires of her friends' urging to read their favorite books and she feels bad for rejecting her mother's proposals. Lanie is searching for her own interests and wants to choose her books privately, in a fun way.




• Peer pressure

• Parental pressure

• No easy way to find  books she wants to read



• Privacy in choosing books

• A fun, easy way to get reading suggestions

 STELLA  Lanie's mom, educator

Stella teaches college and feels that reading should be central to Lanie's life. Stella has strong ideas about what Lanie should read. She often pushes books on Lanie, but Lanie' interested. Stella tries to let go but Lanie picks up on her mother's disappointment.




• Fears Lanie  is not a "reader."

• Fears Lanie is avoiding her

• Can't enjoy reading together



• A positive influence on Lanie's reading

• A way for Lanie to find books independently

>> Returning to a bookstore to observe how kids "use" books

I made another trip to a bookstore to focus on what kind of books stimulate kids. At a Barnes & Noble
I discovered a fascination with a  series of quiz books that asks kids hundreds of fun and personal questions. These books help kids think about their identities in a light and easy way. Evidently, kids love reading books when they feel that they're in control.

>> How Lanie's story shows a need for independence

Lanie likes to read books. But pressures from others and her difficulty at making up her own mind has made the process of choosing a book filled with anxiety.

   A journey map helps us understand how she thinks and which  solutions will help her trust herself enough to make independent choices.

>> Synthesis: Creating a digital experience for choosing books

When Lanie wants to find a book to read she chooses "Would You Rather? quiz.

   She loves the quiz for the fun questions that help her think about who she is, and because the experience is intimate and private.
   As she takes the quiz her responses generate tags which are matched to tags of Scholastic's books. Matching Lanie's identity to specific books generates satisfying reading choices for Lanie.

   Most important is that Lanie has had a great experience on Scholastic's site, one that will ensure that she'll return to the site, over and over.

Lanie's answers…

… generate these book suggestions.

[Return to top of page]

The Problem

Scholastic Inc., the world's largest seller of children's books, needs a product that will increase kid's interest in reading through a compelling on line experience.


The Solution

A fun quiz that engages kids in "identity" questions and uses their responses to generate reading suggestion. The quiz serves as a private way for kids to think about who they are and enables them to find reading choices on their own terms.

UX Research + Design