Seven years ago, Wildwood Elementary School Librarian, Elaine
Donoghue, realized that she was not able to purchase and sufficiently
supply the school with the necessary books on the budget allotted to
her. That year, the book budget was staggeringly cut from $6,000 to a
“I realized that I could never adequately supply the books for the students and staff with this little money,” Donoghue said.
A solution came in the form of student participation. A parent
suggested to Donoghue that they attempt a read-a-thon to raise the money
needed and without hesitation the Wildwood Read-a-Thon was born.
Each June, students wishing to participate in the Read-a-Thon sign-up
for the summer program. These students receive a folder containing a
sheet to track their reading over the summer, pledge cards and suggested
books. As they read, they collect pledges from family and friends and
when school reconvenes in September the library throws a party for all
So how much money can reading really raise? The summer of 2011 saw
almost $4,000. According to Donoghue, the students raise between $3,000
to $5,000 each summer just by reading their favorite books.
The incentive to read at Wildwood Elementary School is great. The ten
students who raise the most money and/or read the most books receive
Barnes & Noble gift cards. All students who participate in the
Read-a-Thon receive a book hand-picked for them by Donoghue. However, it
is not just the tangible gifts that urge students to read.
“I think that the students enjoy knowing they are helping the library and they love to read,” said Donoghue.