Winning Chairperson Divulges Formula for Great Fair

Editorís note: We are pleased to introduce contributing author Sarah Svarda, three-time first-place National Scholastic Book Fairs® Elementary School Contest winner. Starting in this issue, Sarah will write a series of how-to columns, sharing tips and best practices she has successfully used to organize and run world-class Book Fairs.

Sarah serves as the librarian at Discovery School in Murfreesboro, Tenn., a winner in 2012 of the National Blue Ribbon Award. She worked for five years as a third-grade teacher and has nine years experience as a media specialist. Before starting her teaching career, Sarah attended Tennessee Technological University, where she earned an undergraduate degree in multidisciplinary studies (grades 1-8) and a masterís degree in instructional leadership. An accomplished Book Fair chairperson, Sarah was named the National Scholastic Book Fairs Elementary School Contest first-place winner in 2006, 2007, and 2010 and the second-place winner in 2008.

By Sarah Svarda, librarian, Discovery School, Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Book Fair Image

This morning I dragged our overflowing 6-foot-tall test tube into the hall for everyone to see as they entered our school. Mission accomplished! We met and exceeded our goal of $15,532.96 for our Story Laboratory Book Fair sales. Our principal is now compelled to lay on a gurney in front of our 450 students and allow our vice principal to perform a very serious surgery – the kind that requires spaghetti, ketchup, whipped cream, and lots of other messy supplies!

We accomplished a lot more than just achieving our Book Fair goal. Our sixth-grade Book Fair Crew of nine students planned and implemented an amazing kickoff assembly. Students wrote and performed poetry at our open mic night. Dads attended the drive-in movie night and had pizza and popcorn with their kids while their wives enjoyed a night off. Grandparents attended luncheons with their grandchildren. Local college professors, student alumni, and community partners offered their science expertise by engaging the students in fun science activities. Students solved math problems with Book Fair totals. Teachers built their classroom libraries from proceeds of our basket auction.

Bottom line: We had a great time! Our Scholastic Book Fair is one of our largest family events of the year. Trying out new ideas each year, I’m beginning to learn what works and what doesn’t. I look forward to sharing some of my favorite tips in my upcoming articles.

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