Dear Little Ones – The Readathon

Dear Little Ones,

This week features world book day and some of you will also be taking part in Readathons, reading books to raise money for charity.  In principle they appear to be a good idea because not only do they get you reading but they also raise money to help kids less fortunate than yourselves.

However Readathons also create a political minefield to be navigated with the greatest caution.  Other kids will ask you your number – you need to know how to respond else you’ll face public ridicule.  Thankfully I’m here, I’m all over this, I’ve faced it, I’ve coached my own child through it (successfully for once) and I’m about to help (for a change!).  Here we go.


RULE 1 – If a child asks how many books you’ve read be suspicious of them.

Why are they asking?  Not because they’re looking for a reason to complement you.  This is dog eat dog readathon competitive land.  They want to know that they are better than you.  They hope that you say 3 so that they can say 4.  It’s despicable.  Best to deny that you even know what a readathon is.  That will throw them!


RULE 2 – Get them to name their number first

Every class has a lying show off big head.  They normally grow up to be an actor or something equally awful.  Identify this person in your class and avoid at all costs.  However if you do find yourself in a ‘number off’ with them then insist they tell you their number first.  They will lie.  They can’t help themselves.  Know that they will lie and then, when they come out with a preposterous number you will be ready to react accordingly i.e. laugh at them instead of justifying their diabolical behaviour by, for even 1 second, thinking that it could be true.


RULE 3 – Never lie about your own number

Readathons bring out the worst in children, it’s true.  But they also bring out the best in them too and I hope that’s what they would do for you my dear readers.  Reading isn’t a competitive sport.  We’ll never watch speed reading as an Olympic Event.  Reading is a pleasurable activity where you get to explore all sorts of strange lands, sail with pirates, fight Vikings, rescue princesses, fly with dragons and learn new stuff that you never thought was possible.  I’m still learning new stuff now from reading.  For example, a few weeks ago I learned that in theory, if we can travel as fast as the speed of light TIME TRAVEL IS POSSIBLE.  How cool is that!!!!

So if your number is lower, don’t lie.  Instead talk about how amazing the book was that you read.  How much you enjoyed it.  How much fun you’re having taking part in the readathon.  Which books you’re hoping to read before it’s all over.

There is always somebody with a better number than you, so don’t even try to win that competition, because you won’t.  Instead make sure you’re having fun reading brilliant stories because the real winners from Readathons are the kids who have the most fun.


Lot’s of love




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SARAH CANTRILL is a woman on a mission to inspire every young child to become a reader for pleasure.  She is the Artistic Director & Founder of STORY STORKS, a social enterprise that delivers interactive story workshops to early years children and their grown ups, that help kids to fall in love with stories and develop their early language skills meaning that they have an easier time of learning to read when the time is right.  Infact 85% of the kids who come through STORY STORKS  are right where they should be or ahead in terms of progression through the reading book scheme once they get to school and the ones who are behind are trying hard because they know that it’s worth it – that to read is to unlock a whole world of fun and adventure and learning and imagination and they might take a bit longer to get there but they’re determined that get there they will.


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