‘Everyone at our two-form-entry primary school is keen to enhance literacy by creating a love of reading. We began working with children’s book publisher Usborne on literacy-related fundraising before lockdown, and we recently ran a virtual event with them.
Usborne has local reps who organise events where pupils and parents can purchase its books. Usborne then donates additional books to the school for free, in proportion to the sales made (up to an extra 60% of books if the spend is greater than £600).
This was a good opportunity to update our library and also help our community (by donating books to the children’s ward and outpatients department at Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals). We were impressed by the quality of the books and the range of non-fiction and fiction titles across our age group.
Our local Independent Usborne Organiser, Michelle Dalby, helped us organise a book fair, a sponsored read and an assembly talk from a visiting author. For the fair she brought in her trolley of books and gave a 10-minute talk to each class to show them a selection of the books available.
Every pupil took home an order form to choose books from the online catalogue on Michelle’s website. Pupils could pre-order online or buy on the day from her book fair stall in school.
Michelle also organised a sponsored read, sending out letters and sponsorship forms to parents and taking care of collections. We raised £3,383 for new books, including an incredible £1,818-worth of free books donated by Usborne. This has transformed our library and delighted our pupils, and we were able to donate £820 of books to the hospital trust.
In November, we asked Michelle to help our PTA run a virtual book fair. She put together topic books for each year group, along with puzzle books and ideas for stocking fillers. She also created a letter to parents, which the PTA put on the school’s Classlist app. Orders were placed by email and payments could be made by bank transfer or PayPal. Michelle received £1,460 of orders in a week, which meant Usborne gave the school an additional £875 to spend on books!’
Sam Birnage, headteacher, Hollymount Primary School, Wimbledon (470 pupils)