Library Reading Program

I started brainstorming last semester how I could run a library reading program to encourage our students to read. (Other librarians probably already know how to run different kinds of contests, but being a librarian is still new to me!) One of the challenges I faced is the fact it had to be something that would work for both elementary and secondary students. We also have a large population of ESL (English as a Second Language) students. I wanted to create a program where they wouldn’t feel discouraged because they may not be able to read as many books as native English speakers.

I decided to make a contest based on chance. For every book they read, students receive one ticket to put in a jar. At the end of the semester, I will draw winners. Students who read more books have a better chance to win, but it’s possible that students who read only one book could win.

I purchased a Kindle Fire (7″ display, 8GB with Wi-Fi) in the States this summer for the big prize. I also decided to have two bookstore gift certificates prizes and a pizza party for the grade that reads the most number of books.

Here is the flyer and rules that went home at the beginning of the school year:

Reading program rules

Reading Program Rules:

  • The reading program is open to all third through twelfth graders. Second graders may enter into the pizza party competition.
  • For every fiction and non-fiction book you read this semester, you can get one ticket to put in the drawing. You must fill out a book entry form in order to get your name in the jar!
  • The entire book must be read between the dates of August 22, 2013 and December 16, 2013. Book entry forms can be picked up and dropped off outside the library.
  • Books that are assigned for any class assignment, book report, lit circle, etc. may NOT count as an entry. However, if a teacher and their class fill out one form, it can count towards the most read books for the class pizza party.
  • This competition is a privilege. Do not use class time to read unless all other work is finished. Entries may be disqualified via your teacher’s discretion.
  • 3rd–6th graders: Books may be either from the OIS library or parent approved Scholastic Order books or parent approved Book Sale books. Books must be in English. Books should be at your reading level. (No OIS E FIC or S FIC picture books.)
  • 7th–12th graders: Books may be either from the OIS library or parent approved books. Books must be in English. Books should be at your reading level. (Many OIS Library J FIC books are allowed.)


The kids were really excited about the program when I introduced it at the beginning of the year. (Though some weren’t because they already hand an e-reader.) The entry jar sits on my desk:


Library reading program entry jar


I created entry forms and printed them onto green paper. After a student finishes reading a book, they are required to tell basic information and write a summary about the book.


Reading Program Entry Forms


After I approve the form, I cut out the entry slip corner and stick it in the jar. We’re already six weeks into school and the jar is filling up!


Reading program entry jar


To keep track of the class who reads the most books, I file the completed forms by grade. So far, seventh grade is in the lead with fifth grade following closely behind:


Entry filing system


I’ve been pleased that there’s been more secondary student traffic in the library than last year. Some elementary students come during their recess time to read. I just love my little readers!


Recess readers


You can download my simplified lower elementary reading entry form here.
Download my upper elementary through secondary reading entry form here.

When the semester is over, I’ll do a follow up about how it went and things I might change if I do the program again.


{Update: Read the follow up here!}


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