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Organise a Reading Marathon Day in your school

January 07, 2014 by Nóra Wünsch-Nagy

They say that reading is a solitary act, a time just for ourselves. However, reading can also be a community event that takes your students closer to the joy of sharing stories. Start organising a Reading Marathon Day in your school. It might sound like a big project, but it will be worth all the effort. We have collected some tips to help you get started.

Q&A about Reading Marathons

1 What language shall we use?

You can do this in English, in your own language, or both.


2 What age groups?

  • Elementary school students: organise a Mini Reading Marathon for the little ones. It can be either a morning or an afternoon, just a few hours.
  • High school students can easily deal with a full day of reading. Start at 9 a.m. and go on as long as you can.
  • If you have young adult or adult classes, you might want to consider an evening or weekend event. Try a Thursday or Friday evening with some snacks and tea.

3 When shall I organise it?

Any time of the year works well, but give yourself at least a month to plan it.

4 Where shall I organise it?

Of course, it will depend on the number of readers who think will take part. The school library, a club room, and a big classroom are all suitable locations. Make space for everyone, and have enough chairs for the readers and the audience. Think about some snacks, comfortable pillows and even a big rug for the floor.

5 How long should the event last?

You can turn it into a short or long event. There are all-day and night reading events, but if it turns out to be five hours of non-stop reading, you can say that you’ve completed a successful event. You can also read until you drop! Set a record reading time and break it next year!

6 Who shall I involve?

Talk to your colleagues and your supervisor or headmaster first. You will need authorization and some support from your school. Involve as many teachers as you can. Teachers and students should read together.


7 What and how shall we read?

It is a good idea to concentrate on either fiction or poetry. You can guarantee success if you go for graded readers or short stories. Ask your students to bring their favourite stories, and write a reading list in advance. Start with shorter stories - the books can go around and each student can read two or three pages at a time. When you know how many participants will take part, you can decide how many books you would like to read together. Try thematic reading: winter stories, graphic stories, adventure stories, romantic stories, and film adaptations.


8 What materials will we need?

  • Poster: Prepare a poster to advertise the event.
  • Books: You will need a varied selection of novels, graded readers, short stories
  • Some entertainment: Sitting in a circle and reading aloud can get a little monotonous. Make sure you use some visual presentation in the background. If you have an interactive whiteboard or a projector, prepare a slideshow you can play during the event. You can use book covers, book illustrations, and scenes from films. You can also play film trailers if you read books with film adaptations. Check out our list of film adaptations here.
  • Music: You can read with music. For ideas on doing this, read our blog post Music for your Reading Class.
  • Snacks

Ask your students to bring some snacks, drinks, and sandwiches.

9 How can I reward the students?

Give certificates to every participant. The students who read the most can get a good grade or extra points in the register!

10 How can I document it?

Take pictures of the event, and write about it in your school or local paper.


Let's recap in a few steps.

  • Talk to your colleagues.
  • Set a time and place.
  • Advertise.
  • Prepare a reading list and make sure you have an interesting selection.
  • Prepare a slideshow, music playlist, or film trailers for the event.
  • Prepare the room - chairs, pillows, rugs, snacks, drinks.
  • Have fun and take lots of photos! 

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