Organizing a Read-a-thon Fundraiser

Below you will find our frequently asked questions about our School Fundraiser Idea, an Usborne Books read-a-thon fundraiser that benefits both your organization and the children involved.

See our Reach For The Stars sample calendar to easily see how the program is easily carried out. Our results are separated by age group. Read our Preschool Fundraiser results
or our Elementary School Fundraiser results.

Then ask for your FREE reading incentive program information packet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) concerning how to run a read-a-thon fundraiser:

  1. “Can the Usborne Books read-a-thon fundraiser be combined with our other elementary school reading programs such as a book fair?”

    Absolutely. There are no restrictions on combining our school read-a-thon fundraiser with other programs. Just let me know the details of your current elementary school program and I will suggest how to combine them with our school read-a-thon fundraiser.

  2. How much preparation is needed for the Usborne Books read-a-thon fundraiser?

    Very little preparation is need. Organizing a read-a-thon is easy with the tools I provide you. I provide a collection sheets for each class which you will attach to a 9×12 manila envelope (school provides). Your school will make copies of a master pledge sheet which includes a Usborne Books read-a-thon fundraiser calendar for each child to follow along, log their collections and log minutes read. Normally, I recommend you allow two weeks preparation time, most of which will be spent motivating the kids about the start of the school read-a-thon program.

  3. Are the read-a-thon prizes given 3 per class or 3 over the entire school grades?

    Prizes are given over the entire school, all grades merged together. Since every participating child receives a book, that in itself is a prize for reading (receiving 70% of their collected money in books) and the three student prizes do not stand out as much as other fundraisers. Instead ALL students get excited about taking home books and no one has disappointed feelings because they did not achieve the “best” prize. The children get to choose their books to take home from the 70% that they are allowed. For the three prizes, books are chosen by your consultant (that’s me). In addition to the 3 prizes, we also have our Usborne Books 10-10-10 challenge prizes. Every child who reads 10 days and collects $10 from 10 different people, also qualifies for an additional prize! These 10-10-10 challenge prizes are also chosen by your consultant (that’s me).

  4. My students are asking what the prizes will be. What should I tell them? Please explain to the students that all prizes are a surprise. Encourage them. Tell them the more they read and collect, the better the prizes will be as 10% of the money collected is used toward prizes.
    (We do not promise a particular prize since every read-a-thon has a different outcome. One school may collect $100 and another $4000, so as one can see, the 10% used in prizes would provide differernt items between the two schools.)
  5. Can my elementary school do this school read-a-thon fundraiser as a summer reading program? Can the school read-a-thon program be our library summer reading program?
    Absolutely! There are no time restrictions for our Usborne Books read-a-thon fundraiser. We can organize the school read-a-thon fundraier program calendar up so children will read over the summer and shop when school resumes in the Fall.
  6. I have been looking for a reward reading program. How small a group of children can do the Usborne Books read-a-thon fundraiser program?
    Can we do this as a preschool or kindergarten reading program, girl scounts, boy scouts, a bible school reading program or a “child after school read-a-thon program”?

    We would like to see you reach a minimum of $85 in collected pledges, so we recommend group sizes where you know at least 10 children will participate. You can pre-screen your group by sending a short note home asking who will be participating in your Usborne Books read-a-thon fundraiser.
    And yes, the school read-a-thon fundraiser program can be very successful even when organized in small groups.
  7. The Usboren Books catalog seems to have many younger books. How do you recommend we use this school read-a-thon fundraiser for older students?
    Our students are very advanced readers.

    This is one of our most common questions until organizations realize that the average student will only need to choose 3-4 books to take home so finding a title amongst the 1,000+ that we have is usually not a problem! The second thing to realize is the catalog is organized in different groups and there is no perfect solution to grouping books.
    So you will find some books grouped by subject which may cover a wide range of ages. And you need to really believe the catalog when it says 8 and up. And older child usually will indeed enjoy that book.Also look for the catalog section of books grouped more for older children. Usually toward the back. And, if you are searching online, you can use our advanced search to look by specific age group.

    We have many older children participate in our Usborne Books read-a-thon fundraiser. We have over 1,000 Usborne Book Titles. Of course I am not claiming that there is never a case. I was organizing a read-a-thon and was told by a well mannered 5th grader, “I’m so advanced in reading. I read high school level so I can’t find anything.” With a little guidance and questions about their interests, what they might be when the grow up, etc. I was able to show him that indeed the catalog did have some very advanced and interesting books.
    If you do have a student who claims at the end of the Usborne Books read-a-thon fundraiser that they simply can’t find anything they like, please try these titles for older students:

    • Language books: great for middle and highschool and even college reference books. Have your older read-a-thon students get these for long term.
    • The Illustrated Dictionary of Math: add to any child’s home library beginning at age 10 through college
    • Usborne Science books: try the Human Body books, Chemistry, Physics etc. for students interested in the medical field, space, etc.
    • Usborne Books Encyclopedias: used by many college students for major papers because of all the information students can gather from internet links
    • For general enjoyment reading: Try Usborne Books paperback classics and the “True” series such as True Ghost Stories
    • Usborne Books Kid kits are often enjoyed by older children participating in our school read-a-thon fundraisers so check those out too! Don’t let the younger covers fool you. These
      can be well used by older children.
    • Art books: many drawing books but also Making Cards is a great book, even for adults.
    • Search books: Such as King Arthurs Knight Quest are fun for all ages.
  8. What supplies do we need for our school Usborne Books read-a-thon fundraiser?
    At the end of organizing the read-a-thon, the children will choose their books from either our website or catalogs. provides you with class collection summary sheets to keep everything organized and easy. You will need to provide a manila envelope for each classroom. Staple the summary sheet to each envelope. We also give you a custom read-a-thon checklist for you to follow each step of the way. Your organization will need to make copies (1 for each student) of a master pledge sheet (we provide). Each pledge sheet is customized for your unique read-a-thon fundraiser schedule for your organization.At the end of the read-a-thon, the children will choose their books from either our website or catalogs. The first 10 catalogs are free. Each set of 10 after that is $10 with free shipping. That’s it! The only other thing needed is a point of contact to monitor the read-a-thon from start to finish!

    Cost Summary

    • One 9×12 manila envelope for each class
    • xerox copies of the pledge voucher or you can print them from the internet pdf copy we provide. (Either way, there is an ink cost for your organization.)
    • $10 per set of 10 additional catalogs. (The first 10 catalogs are free. Some schools have students share, others choose to purchase catalogs.)

Subsribe to our email newsletter.