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The California Reading Association

     Dedicated to Literacy for Over Fifty Years

The California Reading Association

Dedicated to Literacy for Over Fifty Years

The California
Reading Association

Dedicated to Literacy for Over Fifty Years

Council Resource Bank
Activities and Ideas for Local Councils

How to Submit Your Idea

Please email your council event or activitiy to CRA. Please include your name, email address, Website URL promoting the event, the name of the event, target audience, short description, charge to participants, keys to the success of past events, and any other pertinent information.

Young Authors’ Celebration

Target Audience: K-8 Teachers, Students, and Parents

Description: Seventy-five (75) students from local schools submitted stories, poems, and non-fiction writing.

Charge: $5.00 per person.

Costs: The council pays for a local dramatic troupe, The Imagination Machine, to adapt and perform the winning entries from each age group. The young authors’ work is displayed on tables in the auditorium for all see.

Keys to Success: It is exciting and motivating for the young authors to have a chance to see their work adapted and performed by adult actors. Personal contact with local districts and individual schools is also helpful. Welcomes to parents, teachers and students were extended by professors from the education department at Azusa Pacific University where the event was held.

More information: San Gabriel Valley Reading Council

Wine and Wisdom

Target Audience: Educators

Description: Participants on arriving at the event were treated to hors d'oeuvres, and wine and waters. Handouts were set on beautifully decorated tables. After some announcements our featured presenter began and spoke for an hour. His talk was on the 6 traits of writing and last year we had an inspiring presentation on poetry in the classroom. At the end of the evening as an incentive to join our organization we had a raffle for any new SARA member. They received a paid registration to the CRA conference. This year new members joining that evening got to choose a gift from a table of barely used teacher books and other treasures.

Charge: $20 for non-members, $15 for SARA members

Organization: Locate a room and caterer. Schedule a presenter with a motivating topic. Locate AV equipment necessary for presenter. Design and mail flyer for event. Try to get local coverage in newspapers but be sure to announce and encourage participation in as many schools as possible. Purchase materials and create table decorations. Make signs. Run off packets of material for participants. Bring camera to take pictures of Honor Council. Have board arrive early to set up.

Costs: Cost for catering, wine, facility, programs, speaker's gift and copies of handouts was approx. $350. We collected $500 in registration fees.

Keys to Success: Delicious food, time to socialize, an early start and end time, a motivating presentation, and a packet of materials is always popular.

More information: Sacramento Area Reading Assoc., Judy Grimshaw

Area Mini-Conference

Target Audience: K-12 Teachers

Description: Mini-conference with a keynote speaker (David Schwartz) and several breakout sessions on topics including character education, process writing, ELD, learning styles, and a thematic unit using quilts.

Charge: $50 for non-members, $20 for members

Organization: Area 6 councils met monthly for five months to collaborate on the event. Planning steps included: selecting and contacting speakers; organizing sessions, facilities, and food; planning advertising and promotion.

Costs: Initial investment of $500.00, but the income from the conference covered the expenses.

Keys to Success: Collaborating and sharing the work and costs with all the councils in Area 6. Excellent speakers with a variety of pertinent, interesting topics. Professional units available through CSU Stanislaus. Teachers were able to use this as a buy-back day for professional development.

More information: Mother Lode Reading Council

Bookmaking Workshop

Target Audience: K-12 Teachers

Description: This is a relaxed, half-day, make-and-take workshop. Learn to create unusual and beautiful books using different types of paper, yarn, beads, etc., which can then be made with students in the classroom.

Charge: $5.00 for members, $10.00 for non-members. (If participants join or renew their membership, the event is free.)

Organization: Choose a location (a school site), plan the books to be made, and create flyer. Send flyers to school sites, and include in council newsletter.

Costs: Approximately $100 for food, prizes, supplies. Costs were offset by the registration fees.

Keys to Success: High-quality, unusual books that can be used for a wide variety of purposes. A chance to relax with peers and be creative. Nice raffle prizes, many donated by local merchants.

More information: Lake Mendocino Reading Council

Celebrate Literacy Awards Program

Target Audience: Teachers/students/parents/community members

Description: Celebrate Literacy Awards are presented to local teachers at a program which also includes a storyteller or author, a student performance, raffle, and refreshments. Free books are given to children.

Organization: Ask principals and council members for nominations. Book a professional storyteller/author, location (school cafeteria with stage), and local radio announcer to serve as volunteer MC. Plan and rehearse with student performers. Solicit book donations (Scholastic or Reading by 9). Review the nominations and order awards. Send invitations to nominees and those who made the nominations, council members, local schools. Plan and purchase refreshments.

Charge: Free event

Costs: Speaker ($230), refreshments ($70), awards ($45), publicity ($70)

Keys to Success: Annual event which greatly raises the council’s visibility in the community, and stabilizes council membership. Hundred of people attend, new members are gained.

More­ information: Mountain Desert Reading Council

Children's Writing Workshop

Target Audience: K-6 Students and Parents

Description: Half-day workshop with an author presentation for parents and students, followed by grade-level writing workshops for the children and a presentation on literacy at home for parents. Closing session with the author for parents and children.

Charge: $15 per student, no charge for parents

Organization: Secure an author and a presenter for parents; book a school; sign-up workshop teachers; stuff literacy bags; arrange for a bookseller for author’s books.

Costs: Varies with the cost of the author and presenter(s).

Keys to Success: Quality event for the family; children connect with an author/illustrator, and are able to practice their writing craft.

More information: Santa Clara County Reading Council

Community Reading Event

Target Audience: Children of all ages

Description: Teachers read to groups of children at different community events throughout the year: Chinese Moon Festival, Children's Art Faire, and Pumpkins in the Park (Over 200 children were read to at this event!). They use an "easy-up" for shade, spread a tarp and quilt for children to sit on, and set up camp chairs for adults. Children's books, pencils, and writing tablets are given away, along with book lists and book catalogs.

Charge: No charge.

Organization: Make arrangements with sponsoring organizations, county board, library, etc., as needed. Enlist teachers to read at half-hour intervals all day. Seek book donors. Purchase pencils and notebooks.

Costs: Approximately $110.00 for pencils and notebooks (Oriental Trading Co.). Books were donated. One-time cost of $80.00 for the Easy-up Shade.

Keys to Success: Positive, quality event for children.

More information: Santa Clara County Reading Council

Dinner Meetings

Target Audience: Teachers, administrators, and other interested educators

Description: Dinner meetings are scheduled at least three times a year. A noted author, consultant, or other presenter is invited to speak.

Charge: $15.00 - $25.00 per participant, depending on location and menu

Organization: Select a well-respected speaker and location (restaurant, event center, or hotel), and make necessary arrangements. Send flyers to council members and area schools, and announce at district meetings.

Costs: Cost varies according to what the invited speaker charges, generally $1000.00 or more.

Keys to Success: The caliber of the speaker determines the quality of the event.

More information: Fresno Area Reading Council

Professional Development Series

Target Audience: Teachers and Principals

Description: Three-hour event with a catered dinner and a 90-minute presentation by a speaker. Participants receive a 2-hour professional growth certificate for a 3-hour event. Event is held at the conference center of a large district office.

Charge: $12.00 per participant.

Organization: Easy event. Ask area principals what type of training they want for their staffs, and who they know that could present that topic. The council books the speaker, location, and caterer, handles the publicity, and runs the event.

Costs: Location is free; caterer charges $10.00 per person. Speakers volunteer their time. Publicity costs $75.00. Raffle items are donated by publishers and local retailers.

Keys to Success: Principals are happy to pay for their staff to attend because it is a bargain for them and directly addresses needs identified by them. Principals send many newcomers, and the council gains a few new members at each event. The council's professional image has improved.

More information: Mountain Desert Reading Council

Young Authors' Faire

Target Audience: K-5 Teachers, Students, and Parents

Description: Approximately 100 students from schools around the area gather to read books they've written. They read their work to other young authors, parents, and teachers, and hear a professional author speak.

Charge: No charge.

Organization: The council offers a creative writing and bookmaking workshop to teachers. Teachers who attend the workshop then bring their students to the Young Authors Faire to share the books they've written and illustrated.

Costs: Council pays for a professional author to entertain the children, and sells young author t-shirts and books written by the professional author. Cost of the event depends on the cost of the author.

Keys to Success: Celebration of student writing achievement, and a chance for young authors to share their work with others. Enjoyable time with a professional author.

More information: San Fernando Valley Reading Council

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EUREKA! Nonfiction Children's Book Awards

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California Young Reader Medal
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Award Nominees/Winners

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American Literacy Corporation
$2000 "Outstanding Contributions to Literacy" award
$500 to CRA Council that nominates a winning K-8 educator