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Get Carried Away ... With National Children's Book Week!

Let's Book! is the theme of the Children's Book Council's National Children's Book Week 2004. Celebrate with a variety of exciting school and classroom activities. Included: Teachers share their best ideas and activities to charge up students for a lifetime of reading!


Got an hour ... or an afternoon? Choose one of these big ideas for a great activity for National Children's Book Week.

"How about a reading day, just for fun?" suggests sixth-grade English teacher Bridget Shinn, from Mann Magnet Middle School in Little Rock, Arkansas. "We bring pillows or cushions ... and just read!

"We also do book talks," Shinn added. "The talks are short and sweet -- just title, author, summary, and favorite incident, scene, or character. It really gets the students excited. It's contagious -- I do one too!"

At Salmon River (New York) Central School, kindergarten teacher Linda Sears has her students create a book titled If I Could Be a Storybook Character, I Would Be _____. "The students draw a picture and dictate why they chose that character," Sears told Education World. "I usually draw a picture of Cinderella on the cover of my book. On the inside I write 'because I would like to marry a prince.' The children get a kick out of that!"

More big ideas:

  • Create a "favorite books" bulletin board.
  • Share book recommendations/favorite authors during class time.
  • Compile favorite book recommendations for students.
  • Have students compile their own list of favorites.


With a little extra preparation and planning, the following ideas can bring even bigger returns for your National Children's Book Week celebration.

"My children are dressing up as a character from their favorite book," said kindergarten teacher Joy Bittle of R. L. Young Elementary School in Talladega, Alabama. "We have book buddies from our local high school who will come dressed as a character from the same book!"

"At my school, the National Honor Society students go to the elementary school and read to the classes, says teacher Holly Spallone from East Allegheny Junior/Senior High School in North Versailles, Pennsylvania. "It is a neat way for the younger kids to find some good role models. And the older kids love interacting with the younger ones!"

"My class makes cereal box book reports ," Nancy Mead, a second-grade teacher at Cameron Elementary School in Gladstone, Michigan, told Education World. "They take an empty cereal box, cover it with wrapping, contact, or brown paper, and cut a large flap in the front. Inside, they make a diorama of a favorite part of their book. On the top of the flap they write the book's title, on the spine they write the author's name, and on the back they write a brief summary of the book.

"The project is designed to involve parents," added Mead. "It is completed at home. Each child presents their cereal box book report to the class, and then we put them on display in the library. They are really cute!"

More bigger ideas:

  • Arrange to share favorite book/author presentations with another class.
  • Host a book exchange in your classroom.
  • Create a literary scavenger hunt.
  • Check out publishers'/authors' Web sites for book-specific activities.


For the biggest Book Week celebration ever, mix and match the above activities during your week-long celebration, culminating in wonderful whole-school-community events like these.

"Our most involved activity is the reading night," said Debbie Hurst, a first-grade teacher at Falcon Hill Elementary School in Mesa, Arizona. "Each class has a theme. Last year, for example, all of the first grades did bedtime stories. Some older classes had 'Dinner and a Book,' complete with pizza delivery.

"Some years each class has decorated their classroom door with a favorite book as the theme," added Hurst. The school has also presented a school-wide character parade in which everyone dresses up like a character from a story and carries a book. "This is a hoot!" Hurst told Education World.

"My own favorite Book Week activity is Reading Under the Stars from my own children's school," said Hurst. "Everyone brings blankets and flashlights and books! The PTA provides refreshments, and celebrity guest readers -- for example, a local newscaster, a sports star, the school principal or superintendent -- appear throughout the night to read their favorite stories."

Many schools, including Falcon Hill Elementary and Ryerson Elementary School in Madison, Connecticut, add to their celebration of books and reading by inviting local authors to spend a day visiting school. "We are hosting children's author Doe Boyle," said Ryerson PTO parent Danalisa Mancini-Riccio. "Ms. Boyle will give three one-hour presentations in the library. She will also sign her book Grey Wolf Pup." To mark the occasion, the school PTO purchased a copy of the book for each student.

"In our middle school," said Hillsboro (Texas) Junior High sixth-grade reading teacher Jan Moore, "our reading team is going to have a family reading night in the school library." Stations -- including one set up at the online card catalog for parents to learn from student demonstrators and try their own searches, an accelerated-reader program station where parents will read picture books and take a computerized quiz, and a book bingo station with rhyming clues -- will be manned by students.

"We will also be having a poster contest using this year's theme, 'Get Carried Away ... READ,' during the preceding week," added Moore. "We will announce a winner from each grade on family reading night."


For a whole library of National Children's Book Week activities, check out the Children's Book Council's National Children's Book Week Web page. The CBC has everything you need to plan, promote, and publicize your Book Week celebration.

Still looking for ideas?

Better Book Reports -- 25 Ideas!
Tired of the same old book report formats? Spice up those old book reports with some new ideas. Twenty-five ideas in all!

25 Ideas to Motivate Young Readers!
Twenty-five ideas to get kids excited about reading courtesy of the folks at the BOOK-IT! Program.

Competition Increases Student Reading
The Book Bowl competition sparks students to read more! Included: Tips for starting a Book Bowl in your community.

Organize a "Literature Day" (and Night!) at Your School
Activity ideas and tips for organizing your own literature event!

Make It Happen: Awesome Author and Illustrator Visits!
Learn how to transform a school author or illustrator visit from an hour of entertainment into a life-long connection to reading and writing.

Lit to Fit: Literature Lessons for Every Grade
Marcia Goudie's Web site -- Children's Literature Activities for the Classroom -- directs educators to lessons made to fit the literary works they teach.

Harry Potter Haiku
Why not turn students' enthusiasm for all things Harry Potter into a creative writing opportunity?

Motivational Ideas Children's Book Week and National Library Week
James Madison University's Internet School Library Media Center has compiled an imaginative list of book-related activities.

Ipswich District Teacher-Librarian Network Celebrates Book Week
The Children's Book Council of Australia's links to other Book Week celebration pages.

Article by Leslie Bulion
Education World®
Copyright © 2007 Education World


Originally published 11/08/2004
Last updated 10/31/2007