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8 Read-A-Thon Do’s and Don’ts

Read-A-Thon Tips & Advice

A Read-A-Thon can be a great way to raise money for your school while helping to encourage the love of reading in students. Here are a few suggestions to ensure that yours runs smoothly:

DO Communicate Frequently

Send an email out:

  • A month before the Read-A-Thon to get students excited
  • A week before the Read-A-Thon to get students and parents signed up for their free account
  • A day before the Read-A-Thon to remind students of the start of the event
  • At the end of each week to encourage students to continue reading and give updates on the top readers
  • At the end of the Read-A-Thon to thank everyone for their participation and ask for feedback

DON’T Require Student Participation

Read-A-Thons can help to foster an excitement around reading, but some students might get anxiety or feel pressured to read more than they are comfortable. Students can usually judge this for themselves and so any student that chooses not participate in the Read-A-Thon or wants to participate in their own way, should be allowed to do so.

SEE ALSO: 11 More Fundraiser Ideas

DO Provide Clear Rules and Instructions

If there are prizes involved in your Read-A-Thon, you should provide a list of rules or guidelines for everyone to follow. Points to consider include:

  • Do audiobooks count? If so, for which grades?
  • Can parents read to their children? If so, which grades?
  • How about books read in school?
  • Should bonus reading time be given to students with special needs?
  • Do students need to record reading notes?
  • Should there be a maximum amount of reading time per day?

DON’T Change the Rules

You are very likely to receive some positive and negative feedback from parents as the event progresses and you may want to make changes to the rules and the event based on that feedback. Unless the change is critical to the success of the event, don’t do it. This will likely cause more problems than it will address. Instead, collect feedback from students and parents throughout the event and once the event is done, discuss with the organizers the changes that should be made to next year’s Read-A-Thon.

DO Offer Weekly and Grand Prizes

A $5 gift card for a scoop of ice cream can go a long way in maintaining interest in the event. The more winners the better, so consider offering weekly and grand prizes for the top students in each class, grade, and school as well as participation prizes.

DID YOU KNOW? offers class, grade, and school leaderboards that can be reset weekly

DON’T Set Unachievable Goals

Reading and donation goals can help propel students to read more and gather more donations than they would otherwise, but if the goals are set too high, some students may get discouraged and give up. Instead, set achievable goals and once reached, consider increasing the goals so that the students stay motivated.

THAT’S INTERESTING! In, reading and donation goals can be set on the school, class, and student level

DO Ask Parents and Students To Make First Donations

Students will probably find that their friends and family are excited to support their reading journey, but getting that first donation can sometimes be daunting. Plus, if it doesn’t come early, students may feel discouraged and lose interest, so to avoid that, ask the parents or the students themselves to consider making that first donation. Even if it is only for $1, it may create the momentum needed to reach new highs.

SEE THIS: offers students and schools personalized donation pages where donors can leave messages of encouragement

DON’T Over-emphasize the Donations

While a Read-A-Thon can be large source of funding for your school, the focus of the event should stay on the actual reading. Make it easy for students and parents to ask friends and family for donations and offer suggestions to maximize it, but leave it up to them to decide what they want to do.

If you’re ready to kick off your own event, explore our step-by-step guide to hosting a Read-A-Thon. For a different but equally engaging option, consider hosting a Math-A-Thon. These can be profitable, educational, and fun school fundraisers. If you’re interested, check out our list of Math-A-Thon DOs and DON’Ts to get started.


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