Posting this entry earlier got derailed by the Marathon bombings and the subsequent lockdown and then a return to school, but I did want to record how I organized the fair. If I had to point to any one reason the book fair was as big a success as it was, I would say it was the time and effort I put into organizing it.
I began laying the groundwork more than a month in advance with a letter home to parents giving them an overview of the fair, the dates, and the parent night event. I also gave this information to the science teacher, who makes the monthly school calendars, so that the dates were on more than one piece of paper. If memory serves, I wound up sending home at least two more notices - one explaining how the book fair would work, the other soliciting volunteers. Each was on brightly colored paper and repeated the dates and times of the fair.
Next, I began to generate excitement amongst the students. I talked up the fair during library and did a 100,000 minute reading challenge. Due to various unforeseen interruptions, the challenge is actually still ongoing, but the kids got really jazzed up about it. I updated the chart (in a high visibility area) weekly, and communicated the progress during morning announcements. If the kids reach 100,000 minutes, the prize will be a teacher-student quiz show, so I'm hoping I can pull if off before I leave. I also postered the school with the posters Scholastic supplied.
Two weeks before the fair, I handed out the preview flyers to the older kids, and one week in advance for the younger ones. I then showed them the preview DVD during library time. This took nearly the entire period, but it was worth it. Many of the highlighted books were my best sellers, and kids definitely remembered books from the flyer and DVDs when they came to make their wish lists. Finally, when students had library the week of the fair, I reminded them of the parent night event, talked up the fun and games and food, and encouraged them to dress up as their favorite book characters.
Lastly, I sent out an email to the entire parent listserv (not a comprehensive list, but a decent percentage) to solicit volunteers, but also to remind people about the book fair and the parent night in particular.
I'll write a separate post detailing how I kept the actual fair organized, but I think laying the groundwork far in advance with both parents and students was essential especially since many had never experienced a book fair before. Credit must go to my principal for knowing her audience, because she told me how to strategize my waves of publicity, and it worked.
When all was said and done, we raised more than $2000 in sales, so more than $1000 in new books for the library. Given that we will not have a budget this year, this is a tremendous amount of money to have on hand, and will go a long way. This is why I did it.
My name is Ms. Bery. I am a PK-8 library media specialist in the Boston area. In addition to being a certified school librarian, I am also certified in instructional technology, and have a strong interest in exploring and integrating technology in new and exciting ways in the classroom.
I am also a 2016 PBS LearningMedia Local Digital Innovator, and a 2015 recipient of the Massachusetts School Library Association's President's Award.
Check out the Sandbox for apps and websites I've found useful in supporting student learning and creativity. I also review children's, middle grade, and young adult books on Instagram.
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