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Hold a Read-a-Thon for Fundraising

Books Help Students Learn to Love Reading, Raise Funds

By Jennifer Lawton

Parents and teachers love the idea of a fundraiser that encourages students to love reading. That’s what makes a school Read-a-Thon an ideal fundraiser.

Creating a school Read-a-Thon is fairly simple, you begin by creating forms that students can bring to family, friends and neighbors to ask for sponsors. Students can ask to be sponsored per book, or for a flat donation (children may be a bit more encouraged to read even more if donations are for “per book”). Distribute the forms to each classroom and explain how the Read-a-Thon will work.

A great addition to your Read-a-Thon is to have small prizes that the students can win for their participation depending on how many books they read. At one school Read-a-Thon, for every ten dollars the student raised, they earned a dollar to spend at the upcoming Scholastic book fair. Adding in a Scholastic book fair, or other well-known book fair to your Read-a-Thon can be an excellent idea.

Take the opportunity during the Read-a-Thon to have the librarian suggest great books to each grade and class. Some students may be strong readers, and may already have an idea of what they like to read. Other students may be eager to compete, but may not be as confident about book selection. These students will appreciate having the librarian visit each classroom to talk a bit about good books for them to read, handing out a suggested reading list and answering their questions about ways to find great books.  The Read-a-Thon will hopefully inspire some students to be stronger readers, and leave them with a love of reading at the end of the program.

Run the Read-a-Thon for a determined amount of time, such as two weeks or even a month. An idea is to run this during I Read Banned Books Week, which is held the last week of September every year.

Encourage students to obtain sponsorship from their family and friends. Parents may also bring the sponsorship sheet into their workplace, which could add up to additional sponsors. Creating a flyer with ideas for where they can raise funds could be very helpful to many, especially those that are a bit shy about asking people. Giving parents and students tips on where they can find sponsors could help them raise even more money. The more people the students and parents ask mean more potential funds for your school.

Make your School Read-a-Thon fun. Every week add up the student totals to see which grade and class has read the most and which student from each grade and class has read the most. This will most likely spur students on to read even more, as many students like a little friendly competition. Having the Principal read the students’ names, grade and classes that are in the lead over the intercom would be a great prize every week for the students to look forward to.

A school Read-a-Thon will no doubt; encourage lots of students to read more books than they might have otherwise considered. This is an excellent opportunity to open children’s minds to the wonderful world of books!


About the Author: Jennifer Lawton searches for fun and creative school fundraisers that parents, teachers and students will enjoy.  She is a frequent writer for a site matches schools, sports teams and other youth groups with the best fundraisers for their needs.

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