Congratulations to the Winners of the Fall 2013 Elementary National Contest!

The First-Place Winner and recipient of a visit from best-selling author Lauren Tarshis plus 2,000 Scholastic Dollars™ is:

St. Timothy’s Lutheran School
Book Fair Chairperson: Christine Hindenes
San Jose, CA
Theme: Every Book is a Treasure

St. Timothy's Lutheran School
Students at St. Timothy’s Lutheran School believe their Scholastic Book Fair should be a “national holiday.” That’s how much excitement gets generated about reading and books! Decorating begins in the summer months and doesn’t stop until the Book Fair begins in late October. Everyone at this school of 115 students volunteers in one way or another – from students creating theme-related art projects, to parents helping on weekends, to teachers, school staff and the principal.

The main hall of the building was transferred into a Pirates Adventure, including a pirate ship, with dock, crow’s nest, parrots, and a full sail. The scene was embellished with pirates, piles of gold coins, an oasis with palm tree, and a treasure chest guarded by a very large crocodile. Fifth grade students dressed as pirates for the Family Event and sang a song orchestrated by the school’s music teacher.

The school’s principal got involved by dressing as a pirate and promoting the Book Fair on a video run one month before the Fair. She appeared at the pre-Fair assembly in her outfit and introduced “Cap’n Book” who gave booktalks and talked about the importance of reading. More videos were made and shared of students booktalking, and telling personal stories about why reading was important to them.

Other special events were a Book Bucks Fun Run sponsored by the P.E. teacher. It began two months before the Fair and students ran laps to earn bucks to spend at the Book Fair. Many students donated their earned buck to All for Books™. The school’s Grand Event caps the week and is a big annual tradition at the school. Congratulations to St. Timothy’s Lutheran School students, staff, and parents for making their Book Fair such a great event!

Second-place winners of 1,000 Scholastic Dollars are:
Calvin Bledsoe Elementary
Book Fair Chairperson: Lori Cook
Frisco, TX
Theme: Reading Oasis

A renewed focus on literacy rather than fundraising made the fall Book Fair at Calvin Bledsoe Elementary School their best ever. A poster countdown beginning 10 days before the Book Fair put the school on notice something big was coming to the school. Decorations began to appear in the foyer with a sarcophagus and Egyptian oasis. An advertising campaign to parents launched with outside banners and yard signs, posters held by volunteers greeted car poolers, websites and social media promoted the Fair. Students were ticketed for being caught reading, the Author Videos were shown for first time at the school, and the librarian booktalked books two weeks before the Fair.

Multiple family events meant that everyone had an opportunity to shop the Book Fair. Lunch with a Loved One occurred over three days for grands and other family members, Refreshments with Royalty was a Saturday event featuring real-life Cleopatra and Pharaoh, Cookies with Cleopatra, Muffins with Mummy and Daddy, and Popcorn under the Palms were other themed events. A Literacy League Day allowed community leaders to visit individual classes to read and promote literacy. Everyone loved the results of the new focus and their efforts paid off with more books in the hands of students.

McGarity Elementary School
Book Fair Chairperson: Angie Dennis
Hiram, GA
Theme: Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Students and faculty discovered there was “No place like McGarity’s Media Center” when the school themed their fall Book Fair based on the popular Wizard of Oz book. To build excitement, the library was transformed in Kansas and the Land of Oz. The school’s art teacher, volunteers, and junior crew worked for two months to make the decorations just like the book, including a black and white farm scene, a giant 3D tornado, which landed shoppers in the colorful Land of Oz Book Fair. The yellow brick road lead shoppers through the Fair, and the path included Munchkins, (decorated with faces of teachers), the scarecrow, lion, and tin woodsman.

Events and programs helped to complete the theme. At the Teacher Sneak Peek, staff picked out Classroom Wish List titles and were given a T-shirt that read “If I only had a book…” theme. An All for Books Coin War was held to see which administrator would dress as a witch and then be “melted” with buckets of water. Contests, advertising, and community involvement created more interest in the Fair. Family Night, a Grand Event, and a final Reading Rally were held, attracting an ever-bigger audience for the Fair. By the time they were finished the school truly knew there was no place like the McGarity Book Fair!

Jo Ann Ford Elementary School
Book Fair Chairperson: Vickie Thiel
Georgetown, TX
Theme: Reading Oasis

Excitement at the school began when the library hall was transformed into an Egyptian Oasis with camels, mummies, and three giant pyramids. Anticipation steadily grew as students learned about ancient Egypt during library time. A 100,000 minute reading challenge was made and met, with students reading 165,441 minutes which resulted in the principals being wrapped like mummies for students.

Once the Fair started, Egypt came alive with visits from Cleopatra, mummies, and other ancient Egyptians. Students used the Scholastic Book Fair app to discover more information about titles in the Fair. Grandparents visited during a Golden Grands Luncheon. A Mummies, Daddies, and Muffins morning event was held just for parents, while whole families were invited to Journey Down the Nile Family Night. The week ended with a Wrap it Up and Read rally where the students squirmed with delight while the school’s librarian was wrapped by four live pythons.

Saint Mark the Evangelist Catholic School
Book Fair Chairperson: Sandy Garcia
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Theme: I Survived…

Knowing that more books equals more reading, the principal announced a reward of “dress down Fridays” if the school reached its goal of selling 3,500 books. The Book Fair team made a major advertising effort, using email, the school’s website, principal letter, and signage to reach parents. More excitement was generated by a classroom door decorating contest, which got kids talking about the Book Fair and I Survived books. To further promote the Fair and conversations about books, teachers used the books in the series in their classroom curriculum. A team of parent volunteers and student crew members created decorations for the Fair, and gave booktalks on morning announcements.

Programs were a big part of the Fair’s success. All classrooms received new books through the Classroom Wish List program. A local children’s hospital received books purchased with All for Books donations. The first night of the Fair featured a late night event with I Survived themed games. The week ended with a “Pastries for Pre-K Parents event where parents and grands could choose books in an event specially for youngest students. All the effort paid off as 3,800 new books were purchased!

Click here to see who won the President’s Award for Exceptional Performance.

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