Keep the book buzz going

10th March 2000 at 00:00
World Book Day, National Poetry Day and school book weeks are all high-profile ways of promoting books and reading. You cannot expect the buzz to vibrate as strongly every day of the year, but you do want ripples of interest to spread long after the razzmatazz has passed. So what can you do?

School competitions

Regular, library-based competitions can be devised to focus on different authors or genres. A case could be made for apportioning a percentage of the library or literacy budget for prizes.

Let's say you run six competitions a year, with three paperbacks as prizes in each. Assuming a discount from a friendly supplier (you may even be able to persuade your local bookshop to sponsor some competitions) this should cost no more than pound;50.

National competitions

It's becoming ever more difficult to fit competition-entering into the school day.

But it's in the spirit of most national competitions that children enter independently, so don't feel guilty: set up a competition noticeboard and draw attention to new postings in assembly.

Publisher promotions

It's not your job to do a sales pitch for a particular imprint, but when there are good deals to be had it helps to spread the message.

For example, the collection of Seriously Cool Puffin Stories, gven away when children buy any other Puffin title, includes six "pound;1 off any Puffin book" vouchers.

Random House will be running a Buy One Get One Free campaign this summer to celebrate 10 years of Red Fox paperbacks.

Author features

There is more coverage than you might imagine in T2 and Mega, the young people's Saturday sections of the Daily Telegraph and The Times respectively. Keep a scrapbook of reviews and interviews from the TES, other newspapers and specialist publications such as Carousel and Books for Keeps in the library or other public place.

Author websites

When they've been designed well, author sites can be very effective in maintaining and raising interest. In some instances, it may be possible for children to exchange e-mails with an author.


A slot for staff to talk about their favourite book from childhood is a popular feature of World Book Day assemblies. Rather than make this a one-off event, set up a display of teachers' and parents' books from childhood, so that children can compare designs with today's.

I am collecting first editions of the first 100 Puffin titles and am looking forward to establishing a display of these.

Michael Thorn is deputy head of Hawkes Farm primary school in Hailsham, East Sussex

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