Reading is that magical place where anywhere can be a faraway land and anyone can play the hero. Reading takes you far and wide, makes you laugh and cry, and extends your imagination to infinity. What better way to help kids get excited about reading than with a school book fair?
Hosting a school this event not only celebrates reading and growth, but is a fundraiser for your PTA, PTO, or Booster Club. Book fairs are a large event for the entire school to enjoy; here are our top 10 tips to help you have the most successful school book fair yet.
Find Your Volunteers
Book fairs can be quite the event, but nothing is impossible with a little help. As the event approaches, remind parents, teachers, and older students who volunteered, of their tasks and responsibilities. Sending out a couple of reminders to your volunteers on which dates and times they have signed up for may help keep everyone organized.
Choosing a Theme
How can you get kids even more excited for the book fair? By creating a fun theme! If you are having a Scholastic book fair the theme is already planned and picked for you. If not, feel free to pick your own theme such as winter wonderland, luau, or jungle animals, and add matching decorations. You could even coordinate with your art teacher and have students make some of the decorations. They’ll be excited to see their artwork displayed on the walls for everyone to see.
Announcing the Book Fair to Parents
As a busy parent you know advanced notice can make all the difference—so sending out information early can help a lot with your sales. Announce the event to students and parents with plenty of time. Send students home with book fair flyers announcing how long it will last and when the best time for them to come in and shop with their kids would be. Don’t forget to utilize your school’s website and monthly newsletters as well.
You can find book fair clipart online to make signs or to put on fair flyers announcing the event. Some book suppliers, such as the Follett Corporation, offer pre-made promotional materials such as posters and book fair flyers.
Make it a Family Event
Having a family event during the week of the book fair will be sure to bring in more parents. Parent Teacher Night, Donuts for Dads, Muffins for Mom, etc. An event like this will give kids the chance to browse the fair shelves with their parents.
Notes for Next Year
Whether you plan to be the book fair chairperson next year or not, it’s a good idea to take detailed notes. Try to write down as much useful information as possible: issues that arose, helpful tips, what worked well and what didn’t. This will be a great resource for next year’s school book fair committee.
Receipts, Receipts, Receipts
Although it can feel a bit like a chore, you should print receipts for everything. Whether it’s a $15 book or a $0.75 eraser, you’ll want your records to be as precise as possible. At the end of the fair, you’ll have to send back leftover merchandise and tell your supplier how much you’ve made. If your supplier says they are missing $200, you can assure them that you have the records to show that the fault is not with your organization.
Setting Rules for Your Book Fair
Creating a list of rules for students to follow can be a huge help. Kids can’t help but get excited seeing all the shiny new items waiting for them. Making rules such as, don’t bend books, don’t open sealed items, and definitely no taking items without buying them first, can help keep the chaos to a minimum. Send your lists to teachers to go over with students before their turn to browse the fair.
For organization and financial purposes, it’s a good idea to add up money and receipts at the end of each day. As the saying goes, “Two heads are better than one,” you may find it beneficial to have two people counting money and two people counting receipts each time. It may seem tedious, but this accuracy will be much appreciated if a problem arises later.
School District Policies
Your school district may have policies in regards to accepting money from students without their parent or guardian present. Some school districts will have different policies based on student’s grade levels and others have extra paperwork to fill out. Check with your school district to find out more.
Cover Your Books—With Insurance!
Books can be a key to unlocking learning and imagination. Unfortunately, like any other fundraising merchandise, they can be damaged or stolen. With all the work you have put into the school book fair you’ll want to keep your items secure. Protect your merchandise and your Parent Teacher Group with Property Insurance. If books or other items from your event are damaged by fire, lightning, windstorms, theft, or vandalism, AIM will pay to replace these items, so you don’t have to.
Good luck with your book fair and happy reading!
AIM is here to help your organization succeed. Check out our other blogs for fundraising inspiration, tips, PTA, PTO, and Booster Club guidance, and more!