I always want to do my bit to raise money for my children’s school, but it can be really hard to find time, especially when I am in the midst of raising money for Comic or Sport Relief with Team Honk. So when Scholastic offered me the chance to test out running a Scholastic book club in my children’s school, it seemed like a really simple way to generate more books for the school.
It’s really simple to set up, Scholastic send the school booklets to go home in book bags, parents buy books and Scholastic give 20% of every spend over £10 to the school to buy books with. The books are discounted and there are some great value sets, so everyone is a winner. Check out my previous post where I rounded up some of my favourite books and sets of books.
Getting the go ahead
As an ex teacher I know that the office staff rule the building, so getting on the right side of them is crucial. They are busy people with lots of responsibilities and there is plenty you can do to make sure the book club won’t take up too much of their time. First thing I discovered talking to office staff, was that previously the book club had involved a lot of admin for them, but now parents can buy online, there is no cash or order forms to handle, which helped to swing it. I also offered to stuff book bags if necessary.
- TIP ask the head and office staff’s permission
- TIP having a school email address for your point of contact can be handy – so you can send through notes for the school newsletter or text messages later
- TIP agree a time period for the book club that doesn’t clash with school events
- TIP – offer admin support, eg stuffing book bags!
- TIP – volunteer to sort and distribute the books if parents ask for them to be delivered to school instead of home
Timing your book club
I had a short frame of time to run my book club due to it being a review, a longer time period might work better and give parents more chance to order, but sometimes a deadline makes people take action! The Head teacher of my son’s infant school and I chatted after and felt the end of term wasn’t the greatest timing as parents have too much to juggle, but pre Christmas, when people are looking for presents could be better.
My daughter’s junior school already run a Book Fair for a week, where Scholastic come and visit, so weren’t keen to run the book club as well. This is another great option as parents come into the school after school to browse books with their children.
Setting up your book club
Once you have agreement and a date it is time to set up your book club online. There is a video explaining how to set up a book club and lots of instructions on the Scholastic site, but I am a dive in kind of person and found it very easy to follow the instructions on screen.
Promoting your book club
Scholastic can deliver the booklets to you or the school. I counted them into batches of 30 and took them into school to put in book bags along side the school newsletter. I also emailed the office staff a note explaining the book club for the school’s weekly newsletter.
Scholastic provide automatically generated messages which you can copy and paste and ask the school to text or include in a newsletter, or share in parent groups or by email. I also put up posters at the school gates to remind parents to order. You could also ask to put a poster on a noticeboard.
- TIP Schools have to be careful regarding sending home leaflets and bombarding parent’s with text messages, so don’t assume they will do all these things, ask nicely, be diplomatic and be flexible on timing
- TIP – don’t rely on the booklet and school announcements alone to encourage parents to buy, be creative – let parents know via the playground, posters, social media or volunteer to make an announcement at PTA or HSA events. You could also have a stand with brochures at a school fair, to explain face to face to parents how it works
- TIP – Work with the PTA/HSA to spread the word – they may have networks or communication mechanisms you aren’t aware of and will already be used to spreading the word – they may have ideas on how you can raise the book club’s profile.
The book delivery
Parents can opt to have the books delivered to home for P&P, or to school for free, so be prepared to pop into school and help sort out the books if and when they arrive at school. Each will have a slip with the name on.
My book club involved sending home booklets to 270 children. The returns weren’t amazing, there were only a handful of orders, but it was the end of term, I only had two weeks to organise it and so I was limited by what I could do.
However, focussing on the positives, the Book Club did raise £40 for the school to spend on books and that gives me a very warm feeling indeed. I am really looking forward to hearing what the school want to order and I would be happy to consider running a Scholastic book club again, perhaps before Christmas, as it really is a simple thing to set up.
We put in an order, having read the catalogue and browsed the site it was hard not to, and the kids were thrilled when our delivery arrived!
- TIP – share the book club achievements with parents via the school newsletter, your first book club might not result in great returns, but once parents become familiar with the idea and the amount raised for the school, they may start to look to Scholastic and reap more discounts for themselves and rewards for the school when they are book shopping.
You can also organise a book club for a class, nursery, pre school, home ed group – so many options!
You don’t need to be part of a book club to benefit from the books at Scholastic, parents can book shop online here, I find the arrangement of books by age range really helpful.
Image credits – Shutterstock Boy Reading in a Boat Book pictures – Scholastic.