Pass the Joy of Reading from One Generation to the Next

By Denise Pietsch, Teacher and Book Fair Chairperson at Father Andrew White School, in Leonardtown, MD
It was a GRAND day for all!We hold Grandparent's Day every year in September. We have an assembly where the children sing a few songs for their grandparents, and we give prizes to the grandparent who has traveled the farthest, is the oldest, youngest, has the most grandchildren at our school, etc.
After the assembly, the grandparents visit the classrooms of each of their grandchildren, where there are activities for the grandparents and children to do together.
During the event, we sell gift certificates for the Book Fair. Grandparents love to put books in the hands of their grandchildren.
We print off numbered gift certificates from online and track each certificate. Grandparents can choose any amount, pay with cash or check at the time, and we hold that money until the Book Fair comes along.

We have had Grandparents Day for many, many years, but we started selling gift certificates to the Book Fair only 3 years ago. One year we sold $1,550 in gift certificates at Grandparent's Day. I even have grandparents approach me to buy them at Easter, Christmas, and other holidays to be used at our year end Book Fair.  I'll sell them any time - you just have to keep good records. I keep a numbered list of each gift certificate and track them throughout the Book Fair to be sure that all are redeemed.

When we sell these, we ask the grandparents what their grandchildren call them (since grandparents go by so many different names).  We personalize each gift certificate and when it is redeemed, and we remind grandchildren to thank grandparents for this nice gift.

Our Book Fair is about 5 weeks after Grandparent's Day, so unless the grandparent wants to hand it to the child, I keep them in a folder and pass them out to children when their class comes to the Book Fair.  Some are surprised and some are expecting them.

We have 265 students at our school and last year we sold 115 gift certificates. That’s almost $1,300 in gift certificates!