Hosting a readathon doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are 9 easy readathon ideas to get your fundraiser off the ground.
“You raised enough money to buy us 100 new books!” The students in the media center broke out in spontaneous applause and cheered before they adjusted their blankets and turned back to their books. They were participating in our school’s first ever readathon.
Show me the books!
100 books is a small order for some schools, but for us this was huge! Our book budget is tiny. Most of our budget replaces worn-out copies of titles we already own. Our books do not have a little tape on them--sometimes the yellowed tape is the only thing holding them together. The frayed edges are downright embarrassing, and the soiled pages are just gross.
We needed a way to raise more money for new books, like another set of Harry Potter because no one can ever get the one they need. Or books on soccer teams. Or books published in the last three years.
And then my colleague suggested a readathon. Of all of the library fundraisers I have held over the years, the readathon was the most successful and most popular among the students. I pitched the idea to my principal, and in about 3 weeks I put it together. We made more profit than we earned from the book fair, and with much less effort, I might add. With these suggestions, maybe a readathon will be your next school fundraiser.
What is a readathon, you ask?
A readathon is a fundraiser during which students read in exchange for pledges or donations to their school. Typically, they ask friends and family to donate money, either based on a flat donation or the number of minutes or pages read. The students then read their books in a central location on a specified day. Sometimes adults take turns reading books to a group of students. For older students, as in our case, students can bring blankets and pillows and read silently. A readathon is easily customized to a school’s schedule and situation.
My name is Julie Overpeck. An elementary school media specialist, mentor, presenter, middle grade book reviewer, and queen of the #libraryhack, I am a Texas girl in North Carolina with 18 years in education and 14 years of public school library experience.