According to the official Star Wars website, “Star Wars Reads Day is an international event that celebrates reading and Star Wars. It was launched in 2012 by Lucasfilm and its publishing partners–Abrams, Chronicle Books, Dark Horse, Del Rey, DK Publishing, Klutz, Random House Audio, Scholastic, and Workman.” Schools, libraries, and bookstores across the world have the option of running Star Wars events as a way to celebrate reading. I participated in a Star Wars Reads event last year at my public library, and when I heard it was happening again in 2013 I decided I wanted to run my own at Sylvester Elementary Library.
A huge reason I wanted to do this was that the Star Wars books were what really got me interested in reading…and that wasn’t until 5th or 6th grade. This is often the foundation for anything I do in the library, as I understand better than most that excitement and literacy must come hand-in-hand.
As I talked about Star Wars Reads Day with each class, I saw the excitement growing. Students asked me where the Star Wars section was, and for the first time every single Star Wars book was checked out. On the big day itself, we let students dress up as Star Wars characters. The excitement was tangible that morning. A teacher even came to me and said, “The kids are coming to school just beaming.”
I had several activities planned for the afternoon. In each grade there were 5 activity rooms: arts and crafts, Star Wars origami, trivia, a character hunt, and a reading room. Additionally, we let students sign up to play games in the computer lab (and I even brought some Star Wars board games and puzzles from home). I had ordered prizes to give away from the participating publishers–for FREE–and a few parents came in to help out.
The most surprising thing that day happened about ten minutes before our events even started. Our principal got on the overhead speakers and announced the start of Star Wars Reads Day while I was still prepping parent volunteers. He proceeded to play a Star Wars music medley, and had all the kids who dressed up come to the office. They took pictures, and then paraded through the school. I had not originally planned this, but I’m glad that he did. It was cool to see all the different costumes together and it really helped to kick of Star Wars Reads Day!
As I checked on classrooms, I was happy to see everything running smoothly. In a couple of the rooms, teachers professed that the kids knew more than they did. It was good to see everyone having fun, because that’s what I’m trying to promote all the time–that reading can be fun.
Of course, my own Star Wars excitement didn’t stop there. I went up to a weekend event in Ann Arbor with a friend, where we got to see a couple of prolific Star Wars illustrators, won free prizes, and even got some things signed. Overall it was a great time. I hope everyone had as much fun as I did!