Warm Up: Mastering Updates!

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon is coming up again. I’m so excited to do this warm up post. My name is Rachael. I run the blog Rachael Turns Pages. This will be my third time participating in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon.

I’m here today to do a post about updates. When should you update? Where should you update? How should you interact with the community through your updates?

My ideal time to update is about every 3 hours, but as we all know that doesn’t always happen. About every three hours I’m ready for a break from reading and I have time to make another post for the blog.

What do I put in my update posts?

1. My reading updates. I put my time read and the books I have been reading.

2. Where I have been reading? I switch places and I think it is interesting to read where other people are reading so I try to put my reading places in mine.

3. The challenge I participated in. It is a great opportunity to get the word out about the challenges that are going on at that time.

4. Something New I would like to do is post pictures of the book I’m reading or some of my favorite quotes from the book.

After the Update Post is Up

I scroll through my bloglovin’ looking for update posts and comment on as many as possible. This helps to get involved in the community and usually helps to motivate me more. Then I get off the computer and go back to reading.

Where should you update?

I update for the readathon on my blog, but many participants update on Goodreads, Facebook, or Twitter. I think besides the blog Twitter is a great place to update because it is interactive. I personally don’t have a Twitter, but from what I have seen it is very easy to retweet and cheer each other on especially if everybody remembers their hashtag (#readathon). If you plan to update on Twitter I would recommend doing a starting and wrap up post on your blog for your readers that do not follow you on Twitter.

Have Fun with Your Updates

The most important part of Dewey’s Readathon is to have fun so if updating is getting too stressful spread them out, do them less often, the most important part of Dewey’s readathon is to interact with the community and have fun with the event. As all us bloggers know post take a while to write up and format so think about how much you want to update and format the posts before. Also I do separate posts, but nobody said you have to do separate posts. I have seen people that do it all in one post and just add new content to the post every few hours. How you update? When you update? That is all up to you. How much you want to comment on other people’s blogs? Also up to you. You could choose to go through and comment at the end of day or do it throughout the day. I always find it fun to cheer people on as I go.

I wish you all a fun filled Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon. I hope to see you update your progress. Happy Reading!
Rachael @ Rachael Turns Pages

 

Tweaks and Tips! More Things You Might Need to Know!

Since we’ve tweaked some of our processes, Andi’s video will explain a few things you might want to know for Readathon day! Here’s the gist of it in bullets…

  • Please sign up to be a READER today if you want to be guaranteed cheerleader visitors on April 26th! You can still sign up to be a reader through the readathon event day, but you may not be as cheered-for as you’d like. Andi says: I will personally cheer for you if you miss this deadline!
  • Read the Prizes page! We have US, UK, and International prize sections!
  • Read the Prizes page! We have a form you’ll use to claim your prize IF you’re an hourly winner!
  • READ the Prizes page (seeing a pattern?)! We are offering our international winners “angel vouchers.” A specific number of books from US publishers which will be shipped to international winners. We don’t want to over commit what we can afford to ship!
  • If you’d like to donate a BookDepository.com book (free international shipping!) or be an angel, there’s still time! See the sidebar on the left!
  • Can you help us reach 75 cheerleaders? Last night we were at 64! See the sidebar on the left!

THANK YOUUUUUU for your generosity, patience, understanding and awesomeness! These changes are seriously improving Heather’s and Andi’s quality of life pre- and post-readathon! :D We hope that greatness bleeds over into your overall experience, too!

Warm Up: Readathon Survival Guide for Parents

Saturday – a day perfect for sleeping in, enjoying an extra cup of coffee with your newspaper or – of course — reading for 24-hours straight in a blissful cocoon of quiet and solitude.  Unless you’re a parent, then Saturdays mean birthday parties, peanut butter sandwiches, and watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates. If you’re a parent, you want to readathon, but don’t know how to manage it this post is for you.

 Qualifications and a Disclaimer

I’ve participated in Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon and other readathons for years.  My kids are currently age 14 (Hope), 3 (Atticus), and 13 months (Persy Jane) and each age and situation presents a different set of challenges. I’ve done readathon as a single-mom to a grade school child, as a mom nursing a colicky baby with a dairy intolerance, as a hugely pregnant lady who felt the need to nap every 30 minutes, and as a mom home with three sick kids while dad was at work. I have managed to participate, but it has taken some trial and error and more than a few tears for me to learn that the goal with readathon while parenting is to accept, adapt, and enjoy.

A quick disclaimer: I am incredibly aware that childless folks are busy on the weekends. Some of my  kid-free friends do an immense amount of work, volunteering, caring for parents or animals, etc…. This isn’t one of those “you don’t have kids so you don’t understand the word busy.” My goal is to help parents who feel guilt or stress trying to balance caring for children and pursuing an entire day devoted to reading. Enough with the housekeeping, time to discuss readathon!

Childcare 

This may be obnoxious to even suggest, but if you can get babysitting in any capacity for any part of the day do so. This may seem like a “duh” type statement, but I know as a mom with my kids in daycare all week I can guilt myself into thinking I’m an awful mom if they spend Saturday away from me. Visit to Grandma’s anyone? The kids don’t need to be gone long and even a few hours can make all the difference. Prioritize your reading for the day and make sure you don’t succumb to cleaning the house or paying bills while the kids are gone; just read! Maybe a baby sitter isn’t feasible (there were many years I had no money and no help with childcare), if so don’t underestimate the power of a babysitting exchange. Perhaps a neighbor or friend could keep the kids for a few hours and next weekend you could return the favor and take care of his/her kiddos. It takes a village, people (comma was real important in that sentence).

The rest of this post is going on the assumption that you have no help and your kiddos all day long, because that is truly the stressful part. Reading Dostoevsky while handling a tot meltdown, breastfeeding a teething baby, and checking homework is a daunting feat and not for the faint of heart.

On Reading

What to Read: Speaking of Dostoevsky, go ahead and shelve him. I adore large, convoluted Victorian novels, but I’ve learned that trying to read giant tomes with kids underfoot ends in frustration. Readathon is a great time to catch-up on novellas, short stories, YA and juvenile works, graphic novels, magazines, and works of fiction that are engaging and easy to put down at a moment’s notice. Audiobooks are also perfect for readathon especially if you have to do responsible adult things like folding laundry, cooking dinner, or exercising. Format is also important, I love a print novel, but my Kindle and my Kindle reading app on my phone has rescued my reading. Long afternoon nursing session? No problem! I’ll just read Neil Gaiman on my phone. Stuck at Target with a teenager trying on bikinis? Kindle, let’s get married because I just got knee deep in some delightful, gossipy Barbara Pym novel and I think I love you. Earlier this year I read most of Middlemarch on my Kindle while the kids had a terrible, 8-day long puking virus. WAY easier to toss it to the side or hold it away while a kid pukes everywhere. I also didn’t have to fool with bookmarks or crumpled pages. God bless technology.

Preparing for the Day

Prepping for readathon is almost as exciting as readthon itself! I love gathering my stack of books and ensuring there is adequate coffee in the house. As a parent this prep time is essential. Take the extra time to whip up some muffins the night before for an easy breakfast, plan and assemble meals and snacks for the day, take care of any tasks that could slow you down whether it is making sure you’re packed for some time at the park, washing up uniforms/clothes for Saturday activities, or doing a quick sweep through the house so the world won’t fall apart if chores are ignored for the day. I highly recommend take out for dinner. Sure you could prep dinner beforehand, but keep in mind you want to have a minimal amount of dirty dishes at the end of the day!

Non-Reading Participation

Sometimes reading just isn’t possible or maybe it isn’t possible to do as much as you like. There are many other ways to participate!

  • Cheerleading! Sign-up to cheerlead and visit other blogs or give shout-outs and encouragement on Twitter. Smart phones make this a breeze.
  • Mini-challenges! I love the creativity hosts use when creating challenges. They also tend to get you up and moving. Spine poetry, surveys, etc… only take a few minutes, but allows you interaction with your fellow booklethes.
  • Book-chores: I use readthon time to reorganize book shelves or cull books. The little ones like helping, it gets things tidied and I can do it amid chaos (i.e. children).
  • Field trips! Go to the library, the bookstore, or even the thrift store.  See what you can find. Or maybe drop off those book donations sliding around in the back of your van (or is it just me?).
  • Promote: Retweet, reblog, and holla at the readathoners. Promoting the event increasing traffic for readathon which increases literacy. So you are basically doing volunteer work for literacy on your couch. Kinda.

Involve your Kids

Think about how you define readathon. If it is just reading for 24-hours straight then moms and dads are screwed. I think of readathon as a 24-hour celebration of reading. I may not be reading very many books, but if I am encouraging my kids to read and engaging with them on Readathon day then I am certainly celebrating the joys of reading.  Here are just a few ways to “readathon” with your kids:

  • Read to them!
  • Audio books
  • Book-based movies
  • Legos (Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings anyone)
  • Food! Maybe a Very Hungry Caterpillar lunch is in order.
  • Crafts: bookmarks are easy to make and are perfect gifts
  • Act out favorite scenes from a book (Atticus loves it when we have a wild rumpus)
  • Play library or book store
  • Write and illustrate your own stories
  • Visit a library
  • Organize your bookshelves
  • Purchase books for a charity

I’m sure Pinterest has a wealth of literacy-related activities for kids. Take a quick look and see what you can come up with for your kids. They just might remember readathon with the excitement of a holiday.

Mix it Up

This year my husband is taking over for most of the day so I can read, but I know I won’t be reading for 24-hours straight. I’m a big fan of making the day a mixture of me reading alone, working on bookish projects with the kids around, and celebrating reading with then entire family. Please don’t get caught up in minutes, hours, page numbers, or the dwindling of your TBR pile. Combine the joy you gain from reading with the love of your kids and you are sure to have an amazing readathon.

figandthistle

 

Thanks SO much to Amanda from Fig and Thistle for this most excellent survival guide!

Warm Up: Short Book Recommendations!

Readathon_shortbooks

Are you getting geared up, readers? The Readathon is just around the corner and I have a bit of advice on how to make the most of your reading stack. Picking up Les Miserables isn’t always the best plan when you’re trying to read for 24 hours straight, but mixing up your reading with graphic novels and novellas is always a great fix. Here are ten short, sweet books that would be great on any Readathon reading list.

The Unknowns by Gabriel Roth (224 Pages)

Sometimes too many heavy books can make reading drag, so the funny voice of Eric Muller will be great for keeping you giggling through at least part of your 24 hours.

All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld (240 Pages)

If you don’t mind a darker read, the atmosphere of Evie Wyld’s new novel will pull you straight into the dreariness of British farm life and hold on tight. 

The Maid’s Version by Daniel Woodrell (164 Pages)

Being able to get through a great piece of literary fiction in under 200 pages is a fantastic feeling. This one treated me well during October’s Readathon. 

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (215 Pages)

If you’re not afraid of a good cry at some point during the day, A Monster Calls is the way to go. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The Wife by Meg Wolitzer (224 Pages)

I’m just going to put this book on every list I make this year until you all read it, m’kay? But really, if you’ve wanted to read The Interestings but haven’t been able to squeeze it in, this is the perfect time to grab The Wife instead.

The Last Girlfriend on Earth by Simon Rich (213 Pages)

Short stories are practically made for events like the Readathon, especially those like Simon Rich’s super short and hilariously funny tales. 

Glaciers by Alexis M. Smith (174 Pages)

This pocket sized little novel is just totally squeze-worthy and wonderful. Read it so we can gush about how great it is. 

The Illusion of Separateness by Simon Van Booy (224 Pages)

What would be a day of reading if you couldn’t be floored by incredibly beautiful sentences? Simon Van Booy is the man to turn to. 

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill (182 Pages)

Jenny Offil’s novel in vignettes surrounding the breakdown of a marriage is so weird and wonderful you just might be tempted to read it twice – I know I was!

The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida (176 Pages)

Mixing in some non-fiction is another great way to break up your day and The Reason I Jump, a fascinating peek into the mind of a thirteen year-old with autism, is highly recommended. 

What are some of your favorite novellas or short books?

River City
Thanks SO much to Shannon of River City Reading for her awesome recommendations!

Warm Up: Reading for Charity

Howdy y’all!

Felicia The Geeky Blogger here. I am a lover of audiobooks, libraries, walking, crocheting, quilting, and of course my furrball children (Tonks, Cinder, and Elizabeth aka Lizzie–yes all after characters in books).

I was so thrilled to be asked to put together a warm up post for Dewey’s Read-A-Thon! I am going to be talking about reading for charity. Something I have done the last 5 times and feel it is a great way to stay motivated/give back to the community.

First though, a little history about my journey with the 24 Hour Read-a-Thon. My first Dewey’s Read-a-Thon (in 2009) was done as a cheerleader. I learned a ton and had a great time. It was a great way to get acquainted with the different ways that people approached reading for 24 hours: some did it in groups, some did it with lots of caffeine, and some did it by tackling short quick reads that would keep reading fresh. When in 2010, I decided to tackle the read-a-thon as a reader I was geared with a plan: a combo of all 3 of the ways I learned as a cheerleader. This worked ok for me (other than I found out I am not a group reader) but I found that I needed something more to keep me going. Starting in 2011, I implemented the reading for charity part of the plan. Then in 2013, I implemented the  getting up to move every hour for at least 5 min and hit my highest participation number yet: 22 hours. I think I have finally found the “sweet” spot for keeping myself going!

Let’s talk the “How-To’s” of Reading for Charity (I have tweaked these over the years to get the most I can out of the Read-a-Thon):

Reading for charity is great for motivation. It keeps you going when the wind is leaving your sails. It makes you excited about finishing books, getting another hour in, and getting comments! In other words, it makes you excited about pushing your boundaries because you aren’t just reading for yourself.

Here is how I determine the amount to give to charity (I always fight for a chance to host a mini-challenge because this helps get my total to charity bigger):

  • $5 for each book read

  • $5 for each hour listened (this is great for getting up and doing some exercise to keep the blood pumping)

  • 25 cents for each comment

  • 25 cents for every entry in my mini-challenge

  • $5 for each hour missed

If you are interested in reading for charity for Dewey’s but giving dollars is not in your budget right now, consider doing it for volunteer time. There are tons of charities that accept hands on help (Local Food Shelters, Animal Shelters, Church Organizations, Parks, Schools, etc) and even some that accept virtual help:

Here is an example of how I would determine time for that (adjust for what fits your time budget):

  • 1 hour for each book read

  • 1 hour for each hour listened

  • 15 min for each comment

  • 15 min for entry to mini-challenge (if hosting)

  • 1 hour for every hour missed.

I am very proud of the fact that I have donated the following amounts to various charities because of this readathon:

Oct 2013: $89.50 (animal charity)

April 2013: $125.00 (I had a matching donor so it ended up being $250) (reading charity)

Oct 2012: $45.00 (animal charity)

April 2012: $56.50 (reading charity)

Oct 2011: $90.50 (animal charity)

I really hope that you will consider reading for charity this time around! I would love to see more people doing it. Please let me know if you are reading for charity! I would love to comment and cost you a little money or time :)

This April I will be reading for the Richardson Adult Literacy Center again. Here is their mission statement:

The Richardson Adult Literacy Center transforms lives by providing free English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction to adults who live or work in Richardson or Richardson ISD area. These adults want to learn or improve their English so they can gain better employment, help their children in school and become more involved community members.

I can’t wait for the April 26th! I hope to see you then and please stop by to cost me a little money. The folks at RALC will appreciate it!

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”

? Maya Angelou

Felicia The Geeky Blogger

GeekyBlogger

Warm Up: Choose Your Own Adventure!

One of the things we often hear from new Read-a-Thon participants is, “HOW do you do all the things?” And the short answer is: Very few of us do ALL the things. Other times we get questions along the lines of, “Where on earth do I even start?” And I’m here to tell you!

choose

The Read-a-Thon is cool because it’s kind of like one of those old “choose your own adventure” books. There are myriad ways to participate in the Read-a-Thon! It’s all up to you and your moods.

1. Read as much or as little as you want! Some people sign up and NEVER read! They participate in other activities for the community spirit. Others read as much as they can and forego activities. What do you feel like doing?

2. Check this page regularly. This page is “home base” for the Read-a-Thon. We’ll announce Hourly Mini-Challenges,  Prize Winners, and call for help here! We’ll also try our best to motivate and entertain you. Again, participate as much or as little as you’d like!

3. Use the #Readathon hashtag on Twitter! If you REALLY want to feel the vastness of the community surrounding the Read-a-Thon, go over to Twitter or TweetChat.com, type in the #Readathon hashtag in the search, and you will be blown away. Jump into the convo. I’m certain there are a gazillion readers who would love to chat it up. Note: we’ve trended internationally on Twitter for the last two Read-a-Thons. That puts our hashtag usage on par with huge events like the Oscars and the Olympics. For 24 hours, at least!

4. Help create community for others. One of our biggest needs is CHEERLEADERS! These are the people who go around to blogs, Tumblrs, and on Twitter to cheer on their fellow Read-a-Thonners. When the going gets tough, make someone’s day by cheering for them.

5. Update your blog, Tumblr, YouTube or other channels! Let people see that you’re actively reading and engaging. More on this later in the week. :)

So as you can see, the Read-a-Thon really is about choosing your adventure! There have been years when I spent most of my time reading and updating my blog. Other years when I spent a good chunk of my time cheering and Tweeting. You name it, and you can do it!

April 2014 Mini-Challenge Hosting Sign-Ups!

All you wonderful people who want to help out by hosting a Mini-Challenge? Now’s your chance!

challenge

Who? Anyone who has participated in the Read-A-Thon before and knows how the Mini-Challenge piece of the puzzle works.

How? Fill out the form below

What? You provide the Mini-Challenge and some sort of prize. If you are unable to provide a prize, let us know and we will do our best to conjure one up for you. 15 minutes before your hour hits, you post your challenge. An official directions email will surface in your inbox about a week prior to the ‘thon.

When? April 26, 2014. If there are more mini-challenge host volunteers than hours in the ‘thon, the wonderful Mini Challenge Volunteer Coordinator will pick the 21 best-suited for readers. These will be fun and stimulate many different parts of the brain, to give you guys a rest and a little rehab from all of that READING!

Without further ado, let there be mini-challenges!

April 2014 Prize Donations!

Well hello there guys and dolls, readers and cheerleaders, and LOVELIES! You all made it very clear in the reader poll after the October 2013 readathon that prizes are not your #1 priority. However, we do think they’re hella fun, so it’s that time of year when we ask for PRIZE DONATIONS!

gifts

Why do we ask for donations?

We expect close to 500 participants, we try to give away prizes every hour, AND we want to make sure that there are more prizes than we need so that no one has to settle for something they don’t really want.

What should I donate? 

You can donate whatever is within your means! Here are some ideas:

  • a gently-used book or bundle (say, a pack of 3 or 5 YA or mysteries or sci-fi or fantasy or whatever)
  • some ARCs you’re finished with
  • an individual book
  • a gift card
  • bookmarks
  • something you hand-make
  • a puppy! (maybe not)

Honoring international participants!

For additional ease, and to honor our bevy of international participants, this time around we want to put special emphasis on donations via BookDepository.com. For example, you might offer a book of the winner’s choice for $15 or less. This is a really easy option since you simply have the prize shipped to the winner via your BookDepository purchase! It’s low-stress and less work for you!

You’re my angel!

If you can’t donate a prize, please consider being an angel — a US resident who will have a prize shipped to them and then ship the prize to the international winner. This can cost between $10 and $30. We typically have 20 international winners and four angels. Womp womp.

For the previous two readathons, Andi has given over $100 per event to make sure prizes get to their international homes. She would love to spread this around a bit more with your kind help.

The last step!

All you need to do is fill out this form. I don’t know if we’ll have time to email to confirm your donation, but please know that if you fill out this form, your prize will be included!

Cheerleader Sign Ups for the April 2014 RAT!

Gimme a Y. Gimme a O. Gimme a U! What’s that spell? YOU! Cheerleading for a bunch of crazy kids who are going to try to read all day long. TWENTY FOUR HOURS! The cheerleaders are JUST as important as the players and we desperately need a few. Or a bunch.  So grab those pompoms, write out your best cheers, and join us for some cheering this April 26th.

What does it mean to be a cheerleader for Dewey’s Read-a-thon?

It means having a great time while encouraging others by leaving a cheer or rhyme on their blog or through Twitter or  Tumblr.

You can read and cheer, in fact we encourage it!

Anyone can sign-up to be a cheerleader! There are some who solely devote their time to cheering but many readers enjoy cheering. Most readers will take an hour or two to go around and encourage other readers. While reading is the main focus of the read-a-thon it’s the interactions and connections you make that make the event so special.

How much time do I need to devote?

You can devote as much as 24 hours to as little as an hour. It’s whatever works best for your schedule! We certainly do not expect you to cheer for 24 hours, but wow, if you do, we would certainly all bow down to you.

How does this work?

There will be hundreds of readers to visit during the Read-A-Thon but don’t fret…you do not have to cheer for them all. Just a few days before the event you will be assigned a cheering squad based on the number of hours you said you could cheer. Each squad is then assigned a group of readers but you can of course cheer for those listed in the other squads!

Hip Hip Hooray!~ Now what you say?

Sign up below using the Google form to volunteer as a cheerleader. Still confused or don’t know much about cheering visit  the Cheer HeadQuarters!

 

April 2014 READER Sign-Ups!

Helloooooooooooooooo, everybody! Today is the day! Reader sign-ups are here, and we are so excited you’re joining us for the April 26, 2014 Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon!

You’ll see all of your old favorite features during this Read-a-Thon, but we’re also putting some steps in place to streamline and make life easier for our scads of volunteers.

1. Please use the Simply-Linked widget below to sign up like usual.

2. Please include your info in the form so Heather can assign you to a team of cheerleaders who will visit and comment on the URL you leave.

Want to know more about this last step? Check out Andi’s vlog below!

To help us build a convenient database of participants for behind-the-scenes purposes, please give us your info here, too! We promise we won’t share it.