How our school ran a successful readathon fundraiser


Guest blog from St Bernadette's Catholic Primary School, Birmingham



In September 2020, staff in our wonderful school (St. Bernadette’s Catholic Primary School, Birmingham), had the idea of holding a sponsored reading event.  We started in Year 3, who used their annual charity evert to hold a readathon in the first part of the Autumn term (Toppsta really kindly gave us reading diaries so that we could record our reading at home and introduce us to new authors – thank you Toppsta and all publishers concerned for this).  The whole school then launched their sponsored reading event in the second part of the Autumn term. 

We hoped that every child, in our three-form entry school, would donate a book or be sponsored at least £1. We hoped for £700 and thought £1000 would be incredible (we will keep you guessing how much we raised until the end).  We were very grateful for every penny which was raised, but this event has given us more than financial gain.  The memories and positive reading attitudes we witnessed were priceless and still evident today.  Our community has come together in a common goal of sharing the opportunities that a book gives.  We had donations from children, parents, staff, our Church community and local community. 

How our school ran a successful readathon fundraiser
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We were overcome when one generous adult heard about the children’s enthusiasm and donated money with the purpose of buying each child a World Book Day book so that every child could continue their reading journey at home. We were truly impressed with the reading enthusiasm and effort displayed by our children and fascinated with the range of new authors that they discovered.  The children bounced into school, bursting with recommendations for their friends and teachers to read.  We now have an extensive reading list based on honest recommendations from the children! 

For anyone interested in running a readathon, this is how we ran it and what we'd recommend:

  1. Decide on a half term which suits the whole school (we linked this to our Year 5 charity so Year 5 organised and promoted the whole school readathon).
  2. Get the children excited - explain what a readathon is and why it is important (helps to encourage us to read, helps us to find new authors/genres/formats to explore, helps to raise money to buy new books for our school etc.)
  3. Rather than asking for a donation per book read (as this can get confusing for parents) we ask them to sponsor a set amount, regardless of how much the children read.
  4. Send out sponsorship forms across the school (see attached).
  5. Communicate readathon aims to parents via email (see below).
  6. Share readathon information on Twitter and via the newsletter regularly.
  7. Promote the event by tweeting pictures of children as they bring back their forms.
  8. Children also share information on books they are reading as part of the readathon in class discussions.
  9. Set a closing date and communicate regularly with parents to remind them of this.
  10. Promote the readathon in year band assemblies.
  11. When the money has been collected, allow all children who raised money to choose a book to buy (we used Toppsta, Reader Teacher and Peters suggested lists for children to choose from).
  12. Share pictures of the books as they arrive.

How our school ran a successful readathon fundraiser

And we sent out this email:

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Next half term, Year 5 will be organising a whole school readathon, where we ask children from Nursery through to Year 6 to raise money by reading as many books, or sharing as many stories with an adult, as they can. 

We hope that this will help to raise the profile of reading for pleasure, as well as raising valuable funds which we will use to buy new books for our classroom bookshelves for your children to enjoy. We ask that you sponsor your child’s reading by asking friends and family to pledge a small donation. 

Pupils can choose whatever they want to read - from comics to classics - it’s all about reading for fun. We would love all pupils to take part in the challenge and understand that the number of books they read, or stories they share, may vary due to text length or difficulty. 

We would also love to see some tweets about the readathon showcasing the stories your children are enjoying, using the hashtags #readathon and #ReadingForPleasure. 

I have attached a copy of the sponsorship form for your information and will also send one home with the children so they can begin their readathon over half term. We ask that any funds raised are returned to school by Monday 14th December. Every penny will help, and we would appreciate any donation, no matter how large or small.

Thank you for your continued support,

Mrs Canning 

How our school ran a successful readathon fundraiser
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Our amazing school raised over (drum roll please) … £3000!!   The children have chosen the books that should be introduced into our classrooms and we cannot wait to place the final orders for our bookshelves, now that we are back in school.  The range of books that the children have requested from the donated money is extensive.  Here is a sample of the books that Year 2 were able to purchase with the money they raised.

We have been supported by Toppsta and they very kindly have donated books for our book corners as well. 

Our school motto is ‘Learn to love and love to learn’ and our children have truly displayed their passion and love for reading which has been a privilege to witness.  We are truly overwhelmed with all the support our parents, families and adults in our school and local communities have given, to support our amazing children.  The staff in school feel blessed to have been part of this exciting experience and would recommend the event.  We have been so impressed with our children and their efforts and hope we continue, in partnership, to play our part in developing discerning readers who have a passion for reading.  There are too many people to individually thank for all their effort and generosity, but we would like to thank sincerely everyone who organised, supported, donated, participated in or promoted this event – thank you, thank you, thank you!  Together – we did it!

How our school ran a successful readathon fundraiser

First published


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