New Release of Children's Digital #DiverseBooks

April 06, 2017

From Exploring Mars to Making Friends, Digital Children’s Book Publisher, Antares Reading, Adds 350 Fiction Titles to LightSail Education Platform

APRIL 6, 2017 – New York, NY –   Children’s digital book publisher Antares Reading today announced it has published an additional 350 new fiction titles for young readers, bringing its total library of texts to 1,200.

Teachers and students have access to this library through a partnership with LightSail Education, the leading education technology organization dedicated to turning students everywhere into successful readers. The beautifully illustrated books are written in English and Spanish expressly for students in kindergarten through sixth grade.

The new titles arrive just six months after the launch of Antares and were designed based on feedback from educators. Fifty of these titles are for beginning readers, and the remaining 300 books follow the traditional Lexile levels, ranging from 200-850.The new books include series as well as collections of books with recurring characters or subject matter. Futuristic fiction books cover topics based on news headlines, such as traveling to Mars for a year, while books on more familiar themes appeal to students with interests in nature, mystery, science, sports, adventure, the arts and more.

“When students are interested in the subject matter they want to keep reading, and that is the key to literacy,” says LightSail Managing Director of Academics, Christina Magee. “Antares titles are chosen to reflect the complexities of being a kid today and are representative of diversity in every way possible. Antares moves beyond the stereotypes usually presented in books for children at this age.”

Antares also takes into account the spectrum of reading levels present in the same classroom by providing “hi-lo” options for teachers. These books are a departure from the usual high interest, low Lexile level books available to students in the elementary classroom – a deliberate move on the part of Antares Reading.

“Hi-lo books are usually created with older students in mind and focus on teen topics that are sometimes too mature for 4th and 5th graders,” said Sarah Scott Frank, the highly regarded educator who oversees the creation of Antares. “Antares hi-lo books are written to meet students in upper elementary who may be reading at a 1st or 2nd grade level. They take on subjects like friendships, bullying, and other everyday experiences of that age.”

Antares takes pride in offering visually engaging titles with characters representing various cultural and geographical differences appropriate across all reading levels. Antares will continue to add to its diverse library, keeping on the lookout for new topics and adventures that will continue to nurture a genuine excitement for reading.

This latest installment keeps Antares on track to be the most prolific children’s book publisher with approximately 1,000 English and Spanish titles expected to be published this year.

Tracy Cline, Library Media Specialist from Butterfield Trail Middle School in Van Buren, Arkansas best summarizes the value of having Antares Reading titles available to her students: “One of the most important needs of students is to have access to a wide variety of texts, both print and digital, that meet their reading level needs now and as they grow as readers,” she says. “The fact that we are able to provide these texts digitally through school helps our students bridge the digital divide that many of our lower income students experience with a lack of Internet access at home.”

It is difficult at the middle school level to engage lower level students in texts that are not of interest to them,” Cline adds. “Books for younger readers written at the level they can read either don't interest them or embarrass them because other students ’can tell.’ Reading these texts digitally often helps students mask this embarrassment and still meet their reading needs. Many of our students and teachers have spoken highly of the Antares nonfiction titles, so we excited about these new fiction titles.

About Antares Reading

Antares Reading provides short-form books across a wide variety of topics, in English and Spanish, exquisitely illustrated to engage and support young readers. These texts allow students to make connections between their everyday world and increasingly complex ideas, building foundational literacy skills, comprehension, and world knowledge. The books reflect contemporary society, depicting a spectrum of races, ages and family structures. They were specifically designed to meet the needs of the classroom, allowing for differentiation, capitalizing on student interests, and extending learning opportunities.