This is the "Monthly Reading Events" page of the "Calendar of Annual Suggested Reading Events" guide.
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Calendar of Annual Suggested Reading Events  

Annotated and with links to helpful information.
Last Updated: Jan 30, 2018 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
Monthly Reading Events Print Page

Monthly Reading Events


The purpose of creating and providing reading motivational activities for students is to encourage students' reading autonomy, reading for pleasure, and self-guided inquiry. Activities are intended to encourage students to read for the enjoyment of the reading experience itself.

To ensure that students are provided opportunities to engage in reading motivational activities, Harlandale ISD Librarians are tasked in their job description to "stimulate[s] reading and guide[s] the development of independent readers using reading programs...and other reading motivational and instructional strategies appropriate to the level of the students." (Harlandale Independent School District, Human Resources Dept., Job Description, LIBRARIAN, p. 3, #12)

Some suggested reading celebrations with annotated descriptions and links to additional information are listed below to assist librarians in developing campus reading motivational activities. Levels of activities may be indicated in the descriptions, however, librarians are encouraged to adjust program activities as appropriate. Many suggestions for each celebration are offered as a starting point for creating campus celebrations large and small to encourage students to explore books and other reading materials that interest them.


International Dot Day 

Inspired by Peter H. Reynolds's The Dot and celebrated September 15, the event has reached over 120 countries whose teachers are inspiring their students to make their mark by trusting their own abilities. Teacher librarians can read this book to students and then participate in activities outlined in the free online educator's handbook. The Dot can be displayed along with the other books Reynolds has written or illustrated.

Talk Like a Pirate Day 

Although originally intended for adults, the day may be celebrated with songs, games, book selections, and much more for junior pirates. Teacher librarians can use September 19 to encourage pirate vocabulary (selectively), invite students to wear pirate gear and choose a pirate name, play pirate mad-libs, and browse the display of books highlighting known pirates of the past, modern-day pirates, and other books with sea adventure themes.

Banned Book Week

This event was launched in 1982 and created in response to a large number of books being challenged in libraries, bookstores, and schools. Students can learn about freedom to read, visit displays for books, discuss why books are challenged and the implications of banning them, and hear the teacher librarian read from a favorite challenged or banned book.

Library Card Sign-Up Month

This is celebrated by public libraries each September to encourage community members to see what the library can offer them. The librarian can collaborate with the public librarian to provide tours of the children's area, hand out library card sign-up information, promote public library programming, and invite the public librarian to the school to read to the students and share about upcoming events at the public library.


Read for the Record

Jumpstart is an organization that supports language and literacy for preschool children in low-income neighborhoods. Their global campaign, Read for the Record, is for children and adults worldwide to participate in the world's largest shared reading experience by reading the pre-selected title in an effort to break the world reading record of the the most people reading the same book on the same day. Librarians can schedule read-aloud times with classes or get multiple copies of the book so several classrooms can have their own read-aloud sessions. This couild also be used to introduce the Guiness Book of World Records and fuel discussions about world records more generally.

National Hispanic Heritage Month

A September 15 to October 15 celebration of positive influences of Hispanic Americans, the month opens with the mid-September anniversary of independence for Mexico and several Latin American countries and closes with Columbus Day, observed October 12. In addition to displaying books related to historical and cultural aspects, such as the Mayan language and traditional dances, librarians could invite students to adopt a world city and transform the library into it. This can be informed through the use of primary documents (maps, photographs, writings) from the National Archives ( to explore experiences of Hispanic Americans, spanning the 1700s to the present.


Family LIteracy Day

This event is celebrated November 1 and throughout the month to focus on special activities and events that showcase the importance of family literacy programs. Librarians may invite parents, grandparents, and other family members to the school and libary for a family-school reading night that may be held in conjunction with parent teacher conferences tro spotlight the library program.

World Kindness Day

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation encourages acts of kindness. Students may visit a local care facility to read to the residents or record themselves reading books and share the recordings with a facility. Alternatively, retired community members could be invited to the school and paired with students to share books together. Librarians can read books with the topic of kindness, such as The Mitten Tree by Candace Christiansen; display books that highlight characters showing kindness; and encourage kindness-related activities, such as making kindness cards to be given to others when acts of kindness are observed.

Picture Book Month 

Each November, countries around the world celebrate picture books. Using the website to provide students with a cast array of activities, librarians can promote this event to all ages. Suggestions include displaying picture books, keeping a running total of picture books checked out, Skyping with a picture book author or illustrator, and having local celebrities or administrators read their favorite picture books aloud.

International Games Day

On the third Saturday of November, libraries around the world celebrate this event from the American Library Association, the Australian Library and Information Association, and Nordic Game Day. Librarians can raise awareness about gaming in the library; bring together gamers; host games of all kinds, including board games, video games, and card games; and display books on card games, magic tricks, Lego building, Minecraft and such.


Caldecott, Newbery, Geisel Book Awards

These are awarded in January by the Association for Library Services for Children. The Newbery (1922), Caldecott (1938), and Geisel (2006) awards honor the most distinguished American children's book, picture book, and book for beginning readers published the previous year. Promotoing past award winners in December builds excitement for the January announcement and provides students reading suggestions for the winter break. Librarians can promote the reading medal winners and honor books by displaying these and other ALA children's book award posters of past titles, booktalking, showing book trailers, and providing bookmarks with award titles.

Letters About Literature (Library of Congress Center for the Book) (TexasState Library and Archives Commission sponsors this in Texas)

Started in 1992, this annual writing contest is for readers grades 4-12. Students choose a book or poem about which they have strong feelings, reflect on how the author's work changed their view of the world or how and why they are different than before they read the work, and write a reflective letter about it to the author (living or dead). Letters go to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Winners are announced in mid-April and recognized during presentations in May and June. The deadline for submission is usually mid-January, so teachers and librarians should introduce this contest to students in December to ensure students have time to write quality pieces. Librarians can display books discussed in past entries as inspiration for future book selections.


Texas Bluebonnet Award Voting Day  (all HISD elementary libraries participate) 

The TBA selection committee is responsible for selection of the books on each year's master list. Suggestions are solicited from librarians, teachers, parents, students and other interested persons. A new list of twenty books is released each year at the Texas Book Festival in October. In selecting titles, the committee considers student interests, relevant content, reputable reviews, and literary quality. Both fiction and nonfiction books are represented. The author must be a living U.S. citizen or an author who resides and publishes in the United States. Books considered for the master list must have been published in the United States. Only titles published within the three years prior to the master list release date are considered.


Science Fiction Day

On January 2, to correspond with the birthday of Isaac Asimov, the famous science fiction writer who is credited with writing or editing more than 500 books, librarians can discuss the genre of science fiction, display Asimov's children's titles along with books by other science fiction authors and invite students to booktalk to their peers their favorite science fiction novels.

Multicultural Children's Book Day

January 27, 2016, was the first day set aside to raise awareness of children's books that celebrate diversity and to get more of them into classrooms and libraries. Besides displaying books or Skyping with authors, librarians can encourage clssroom teachers to sign up for the MCBD reading challenge and be given a free muilticultural book for their classroom library for completing the challenge by the Junior Library Guild.


World Read Aloud Day

LitWorld was founded in 2007 by Executive Director Kim Allyn after she visited a community of extreme poverty in Kenya and saw the desire of children to read and write. Based on the belief that literacy is a universal human right, World Read Aloud Day was established in 2010 and is celebrated in February or March. Librarians can read aloud to students, pair older and younger students to read aloud to each other, invite community members to read aloud to students from their favorite childhood books, or read aloud with an author via Skype.

Groundhog Job Shadow Day

Just as Punxsutawney Phil looks for his shadow on February 2, U.S. workers often have "shadows" as they encourage youth to job shadow them to allow for an up-close look at what a "real job" is like and how their education plays a key role in their future. Librarians can celebrate this day by inviting local professionals into the library to talk about their jobs, provide a wide selection of nonfiction books on careers, and promote databases and websites covering careers.

President's Day

This holiday was originally established in 1885 to recognize President George Washington and is now celebrated the third Monday in February to recognize all U.S. Presidents, past and present. Librarians can encourage students to read nonfiction about the presidents by displaying books from the collection, booktalking, and reading aloud. Stduents can dress as their favorite president, make president-related crafts in the libary, and view a video highlighting U.S. Presidents as they browse for books.

Black History Month

Each February, communities and schools recognize the history and contributions of African Americans. Librarians may particpate through the NCTE's African American Read-In event to read from books by African American authors and illustrators or host authors, illustrators, or storytellers to visit in person or streamed online ( is a good resource to connect with authors and theri works). Book displays may showcase strong African American characters and nonfiction books about influential people of African descent.


Read Across America

Sponsored by the National Education Association and celebrated annually on March 2, Dr. Seuss's birthday, students can read a variety of Dr. Seuss books, dress as their favorite character, and even eat Dr. Seuss-inspired snacks. This event may be celebrated all week, with the school participating in dress-up days that correspond with Dr. Seuss books, such as inviting students to wear silly socks on the same day that a local celebrity, such as a business owner or a local politician, reads Fox in Socks.

Children's Choice Awards

Giving children the opportunity to voice their opinions on books being written for them through their state's Children's Choice Book Award program, student voting takes place from March to May, with winners announced live during Children's Book Week in May. The longest-running national literacy initiative (since 1949), Children's Choice Awards often feature bookmarks and posters that librarians can display with current and past winners. Booktalks, book trailers, and live broadcast of winners may be presented or streamed online.


School Library Month (all HISD libraries participate)

Every April since 1985, the American Association of School Librarians encourages librarians to create activities to promote their program as a way to celebrate the vital role that strong library programs play in transforming learning. Librarians can use this event to encourage students to utilize the library not only for leisure reading but also as a place to collaborate on projects, conduct research, explore their interests, and ask questions. A wide variety of technology, databases, and books can be displayed; a slide show could be created highlighting student collaboration using these resources and past and upcoming library events.

D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read)

Originally celebrated on April 12 in honor of Beverly Cleary's birthday, D.E.A.R. is now celebrated the entire month of April (B. Cleary wrote about D.E.A.R. in her book Ramona Quimby, Age 8). Librarians can coordinate with classroom teachers to promote a day-long event where studetns dress in comfortable clothing, bring pillows and blankets, listen to relaxing music, and read. Each hour or each day a different genre can be intrduced and new slections offered, for example, using the Nonfiction Monday blog slogan "Facts First Nonfiction Mondays." Students are encouraged to record their time spent reading and Beverly Cleary and other authors' books may be given away as prizes.

National Poetry Month

Held every April since 1996 and first introduced by the Academy of American Poets, the month is dedicated to celebrating poetry with events taking place in school classrooms, libraries, and book stores. Librarians can showcase the National Poetry poster, involve students in the Dear Poet Project, celebrate National Poem in Your Pocket Day, display books of poetry, highlight authors of children's poetry, and have poetry readings.


Star Wars Day

May 4th has become the unofficial Star Wars holiday and is celebrated with the phrase "May the Fourth be With You!" Students can dress as their favorite Star Wars character, make Star Wars crafts and snacks, build with Star Wars Legos, and browse the selection of Star Wars, astronomy, and space books on display.

Free Comic Book Day

On the first Saturday in May, independent comic book specialty shops around the world give away at least one free comic book to anyone who comes into their stores. In the days leading up to Free Comic Book Day, students can be introduced to the unique features of a comic book that appeal to both boys and girls, as well as reluctant readers; shown examples of popular comics throughout the past century (a local collector could be invited); and given information about local shops participating in Free Comic Book Day or perhaps introduced to the Manga and genre.


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