Book Fair is a Success Story for School

Monday, June 21, 2010

Every year schools across the nation host book fairs that encourage students to increase their recreational reading.  The weeklong event presents books that meet the appetite of any reader.

Schools dress up their libraries in brightly colored streamers and banners.  Some schools even incorporate themes into their decorating schemes. 

The book fair student crew at Sammy McClure Middle School in Dallas, Ga., supervised by UWG grad Rhonda Boggs, a media specialist, went above and beyond the minimum to provide the students with a fair full of fun.

“Our first fair with the student crew was mostly experimental.  I picked the theme and had them help me with the production,” said Boggs. 

“Books at Twilight” won the small school second-place in Scholastic’s National Middle School Book Fair Contest in fall 2008.  The school followed up its success with another second-place win in spring 2009 with its “Wii TM Love Books.”

The stipulations for entering the contest are a 500-word essay discussing the student crews’ involvement in the planning and organization of the fair and pictures of the event. 

“The students wrote the essay,” said Boggs.  “We also send in copies of the supplies we used and the invitations we sent out.”

After two second-place wins, the pressure was on to obtain the coveted first-place position for the school.

“Phantom of the Book Fair (Unmasking the Reader in You)” acquired the school its first first-place win in fall 2009.

The event consisted of a total transformation of the school’s library.  The decorations included a replica organ, candelabras, masks, roses, oversized playbills, a life-like reconstruction of the chandelier from the Broadway show, and the Phantom’s gondola, which adorned the media center’s circulation desk.

“Charlie and the Book Factory” won Sammy McClure its second first-place win in spring 2010, which was the first time a school has won the Scholastic contest back-to-back.

Like the prior semester, the student crew contributed to the decoration of the library.  The decorations integrated giant chocolate bars, pixy sticks, hard candy, gummy bears, gumball machines, a chocolate waterfall, and Willy Wonka’s boat into the transformation of the media center.

“For the two fairs we won, I relinquished the control to the students. They had total student involvement where the kids selected the themes, formed committees, and planned the promotions, events, and contests.”

The student crew has accumulated a total of $6,000 in two years and visits from two acclaimed writers: Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and the Underland Chronicles) and Heather Brewer (Chronicles of Vladimir Todd).

“I have a great group of kids,” said Boggs.  “They know what the other kids like and how to generate excitement for the fair.”