Read-a-Thon FAQ

What is the date of the next Read-a-thon?

April 18, 2009, starting at noon GMT.

Here is a handy time zone page.

You can expect a Read-a-thon every April and October.

Where can I sign up?

Sign up for the October 2008 event here.

What is the 24 Hour Read-a-thon?

It’s sort of a reading challenge, only everyone participates at the same time. For 24 hours, we read books, post in our blogs about our reading, and visit other readers’ blogs. We also participate in mini-challenges throughout the day.

What the heck is a mini-challenge? Do I have to do them?

This is something that the Cheerleaders organize so that Readers can take a break from their reading. You can check out the the October 2007, June 2008 and October 2008 mini-challenges by skimming through the readathon category on Dewey’s blog. Mini-challenges are optional; you can skip as many as you want or you can just spend the whole 24 hours reading if that’s what you want to do.

Where do I find out about the mini-challenges during the event?

In this blog! Just visit it throughout the day as often as you want and you’ll find mini-challenges waiting for you in the main read-a-thon post, which I call the home base post. Often, you have to click over to a Cheerleader’s blog.

Do I have to stay up the whole 24 hours?

No, although it’s more fun if if you do. Cheerleaders only need to commit to at least one hour, and Readers can either choose to stay up the entire time or take breaks as they need to. There are some prizes that you’ll only be eligible for if you participate all 24 hours.

What are the ways in which I can participate?

The five types of participants are Reader, Cheerleader, Mini-Challenge Host, Organizer and Prize Donor.

Prizes? Did you say prizes?

That’s right! Click to see a list of prizes for the October 2008 event.

What is the role of a Reader?

People who sign up to be readers are committing to reading books, posting updates in their blogs, participating in mini-challenges when they choose to, and, if they need breaks, visiting the blogs of other readers and encouraging them. The most hardcore among us will stay up the entire 24 hours and do nothing but read and update, even going so far as to skip showering and eat meals while reading. However, not all of us are that hardcore, and it’s OK for you to customize this read-a-thon to meet your needs. All I ask is that you be honest in your updates, and that’s about the only rule for readers.

Updating for Readers: This should be individually customized. If you want to spend 5 or 10 minutes updating each hour or every 3 hours, that’s great. If you want to update whenever you feel like you need a break from reading, that’s great, too. If you want to just read and read for 24 hours straight and then write one big update, that’s also great. You do what works for you, OK?

Suggested format for updating: Again, customize this as you wish, but I suggest updating about what you’re reading, how many pages you’ve read since your last update, and how much time you’ve spent reading since your last update. You may want to keep a running total of time spent reading, number of books read and pages read; this could make you eligible for some prize drawings. Updates might also be your typical book reviews, once you finish something.

Readers visiting other readers: Do this if and when you’re in the mood, as often as you like.

Tips for Readers:
1. Pick shortish books. When you’re reading for such a long time, you might get really sick of the same book for hours on end. 2007 Readers recommended that you start with a short book so that you have a feeling of accomplishment when you finish it early in the read-a-thon.
2. Choose something light (children’s books, humorous books, graphic novels, books you already know well) and save those for the end when you’re tired and sick of reading.
3. Try not to pick really dense nonfiction unless you have the most enormous attention span ever.
4. If you’re going to use this time to catch up on other challenges, try to have a big variety available. You don’t know what will hold your attention, so don’t assign yourself specific books without alternates.
5. Give yourself permission to put a book aside and try something else if it’s not holding your attention.
6. Careful with caffeine! If you drink more coffee than you’re used to, you’ll be jittery at first and then crash later. Drinking something lightly caffeinated (green tea?) throughout the day seems to work better.
7. Don’t sit in the same spot/position all day! This could make your back hurt. Instead, move to different places in the house every hour or two.
8. In general, don’t be a masochist. This is supposed to be fun! And if anything about the challenge makes you start picturing us with little devil horns and wanting to strangle us, please stop and change it so that it works for you. Or, you know, go ahead and scream TO HELL WITH THIS CHALLENGE and go to sleep. We don’t want sleep deprivation making you hate your friendly read-a-thon organizers.

Suggested high-interest, keeping-you-awake books: See Eva’s giant post of suggestions she gathered from her readers.

If I want to be a Prize Donor, how do I do that?

Just email me at WordLily at gmail and let us know what you’d like to donate! We will love you forever.

What is the role of a Cheerleader?

There are two types of Cheerleaders: those who run mini-challenges and those who do not.

Key points:
1. Cheerleaders choose how much time they spend on the read-a-thon, one hour minimum.
2. Cheerleaders decide if they want to do a mini-challenge or just encourage Readers.
3. We need as many cheerleaders as possible, even those who can’t spend much time on it.

You can participate for one hour, or you can participate the entire 24 hours, or for any amount of time in between.

One sort of cheerleader will choose to do a mini-challenge. If you would like to know more about how do go about planning a mini-challenge, simply email me at dewpie at gmail and I’ll send you the Cheerleader email and you can find out more. After you understand the mini-challenges better, you can decide if that’s what you want to do or not.

You also decide whether your mini-challenge will involve all Readers, a few Readers, or just one Reader whose name is drawn. Your mini-challenge can be as simple or complex as you want to make it.

Also, if you do a mini-challenge, you do not need to offer a prize. You can if you want to, but it’s by no means required. There may be prizes available from donors.

Cheerleaders who decide to do mini-challenges commit to a one-hour time slot, which will be the hour of their mini-challenges.

Cheerleaders doing mini-challenges can also spend as much of the day as they want going around reading the updates of Readers, watching other mini-challenges, and just in general cheering Readers on.

The other type of cheerleader doesn’t need to make a commitment to a time slot. These cheerleaders will not do a mini-challenge, but will just spend whatever amount of time they can visiting the blogs of readers and other cheerleaders (where the mini-challenges happen) and encouraging everyone. The main purpose of this type of cheerleader is to keep Readers from feeling isolated as they spend their day reading.

I would like to have as many cheerleaders as possible, so that the Readers don’t go for any large chunk of time without an encouraging comment. As far as the mini-challenges go, there’s no pressure to do one of those if you just want to cheer people on.

May I participate in more than one way?

If you like. It’s certainly easy enough to be a prize donor and a Cheerleader or Reader. It’s also possible to take on one of the organizational tasks and be a Cheerleader and/or Reader. There have been some people who were both Cheerleaders and Readers, and even a few who were mini-challenge Cheerleaders and Readers, but I suspect these people are secretly superheroes.

What’s this about organizational tasks?

There are several ways that you can help:

• Keep a spreadsheet of prizes donated and won as well as donors.
• Keep spreadsheet of cheerleaders/mini-challenges
• BookMooch points tracker
• Participant tracker
• Reminder
• Promoters: These people spread the word about the read-a-thon in the weeks before the event so that as many bookish people as possible find out about it. Buttons are available below.

How can I keep track of the participants?

Aerin has put together a site listing all participants for the October 2008 event.

I can’t participate, but is there some small way in which I can help?

You would go straight onto our mental list of Most Awesome People Ever if you would promote the read-a-thon in your blog. If you scroll down, you’ll find buttons you could use. You don’t have to say much; you can just say Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon is coming up and link to this page. Or you could just put a button in your sidebar. But if you don’t really care about being on our M.A.P.E. list, you could promote the read-a-thon just because your readers might be interested!

Or you could just sort of hover in the background and, if you’re not busy on October 18th, visit a few Readers and say hi (or not). Some people might use the word “lurker” but here at Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon, we prefer the term “laconic blogpals.”

Once I sign up, what do I do next?

Key your eye on this blog. In the few days leading up to the Read-a-thon, we’ll probably post updates, last minute info, etc. The day of the read-a-thon, there will be a home base post. This is where you’ll find out about mini-challenges, prize winners, etc.

Do e-books count?

Well, sure! Also audio books, reading to the kids, etc.

Will there be a chance to raise money/books for charity this time?

Two read-a-thons ago, some bloggers solicited donations for Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), an organization that provides children with books. If you would like to ask people to sponsor you, you might want to choose RIF or one of the BookMooch charities or some other charity. Choose whatever charity you want! We’ll post a list of suggestions at some point.

I can’t decide yet. The date of the Read-a-thon is too far away, I don’t know my work schedule, etc.

That’s OK. I’m hearing this from a lot of people, and believe me, I won’t let you forget! I’m going to keep mentioning the read-a-thon, especially the week before it starts. Just sign up if/when you decide to join us! The only problem you might encounter if you sign up at the last minute is that you may not make it onto the participants list before the event starts.


Here you go. These buttons were all made by past read-a-thon participants. You’re also free to make your own (let me know and I’ll add it here) or tweak these.
















2 responses to “Read-a-Thon FAQ

  1. Pingback: Read-a-thon date set! « Dewey’s Read-a-Thon

  2. Pingback: Dewey’s Read-a-Thon » Read-a-thon date set!

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