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Get Your Community Involved in Your OSOB!

The excitement that comes with a One School, One Book reading program does not have to stay confined to your school! Some of the most common questions we get from new participants concern community engagement. Even returning schools are hungry for fun, engaging ways to get all corners of their community involved– and build bridges that will last long after your read aloud is done. 

Here are just a few tips to get you started: 

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  1. Purchase extra copies of the book to place around town, with our posters, at selected businesses. Encourage the owners and employees to read along and create promotions related to the book. Customers who are connected to your school can participate and win prizes. Customers who don’t know about it will become exposed to the excitement and marvel at your all school reading program. 
  1. Pull in community members who have connections to themes in your selected title. Reading about a hamster? Call the pet shop. Reading about a motorcycle? Reach out to your local motorcycle club. Reading about a pig? Find a local farmer. Reading about a swan that plays the trumpet? Ask around at your local music store (or symphony, if you are lucky enough to have one). We have found that folks with a passion are happy to share their craft with eager students. They may be able to present at an assembly or make a video to share. 
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  1. Alert your local media – morning news shows are always looking for positive, feel-good community stories. They are sure to appreciate a reading program for kids! Offer to meet them on campus to attend your opening kick off or closing extravaganza. Show off your decorations and provide interviews with faculty, staff, and students (with parent permission), and parents themselves. 
  1. Contact your local service organizations – Rotary, Kiwanis, Junior League, Veterans Posts, Moose, Elks, etc. They are often eager to support community literacy both financially, and with volunteer hours. 
  1. Tap into your local “celebrities” to lend a hand. We have seen sports stars (professional, college or even your high school), governors, mayors, and superintendents become celebrity readers, either in person or on video. How about those business owners who star in their own local TV ads? Kids love recognizing their readers!  
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Jason Garrett, Former Dallas Cowboys Head Coach
  1. Speaking of sports stars, if you have a local sports team or even your high school team, ask if their costumed mascot can make an appearance related to your reading program – what a photo op! 
  1. Be Johnny Appleseed! If you are a school, spread the word to the rest of your district.  If you are coordinating for a district, spread the word to the rest of the county or neighboring districts. This is definitely one of those “the more the merrier” opportunities. 

What are some of the creative ways you’ve engaged your community during your school-wide reading event? Let us know in the comments below! 

Have an idea that isn’t on this list, but aren’t sure how to implement it? Contact us! We at Read to Them are always available to answer your questions. You can reach us by phone at (804) 367-3195. You can also email us at programs@readtothem.org.

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