Tuesday, June 24, 2008


This coming Saturday, June 28, is a read-a-thon. That being Shabbos, we can't fully participate (though we certainly spend a large percentage of Shabbos reading). However, for everyone else who might be interested, here are all the gory, booky details:
Read-a-thon FAQ
What is the date of the next Read-a-thon?
June 28th, starting at 9am Pacific DST.
Where can I sign up?
Click here and just use the Mr Linky.
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 something that the Cheerleaders organize so that Readers can take a break from their reading. You can get an idea about the October 2007 mini-challenges in this post, which was the home base post for that read-a-thon. And no, you can just spend the whole 24 hours reading if that’s what you want to do.
Where would I find out about the mini-challenges?
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.
What are the ways in which I can participate?
The three types of participants are Reader, Cheerleader and Prize Donors.
Prizes? Did you say prizes?
Yes, check out the list of the June 2008 prizes.
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 non-fiction 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 not finish it if it’s not holding your attention.

6. Just in general don’t be a masochist. This is supposed to be fun! And if anything about the challenge makes you start picturing me with little devil horns and wanting to strangle me, please stop and change it so that it works for you. Or, you know, go ahead and scream TO H*** WITH THIS CHALLENGE and go to sleep. We don’t want sleep deprivation making you hate your pal Dewey.
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 dewpie at gmail and let me know what you’d like to donate!
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 need make no 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 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.
How can I keep track of the participants?
Renay made us this handy page!
I can’t participate, but is there some small way in which I can help?
You would go straight onto my 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 there’s a 24 hour read-a-thon 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 my MAPE list (and really, who does, besides maybe my cat?), 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 20th, visit a few Readers and say hi (or not). Some people might use the word “lurker” but me, I prefer the term “laconic blogfriends.”
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, I’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.
What is our charity this year?
Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), an organization that provides children with books.
Please explain how RIF will get money from this.
If you like, and it’s not necessary, you could ask your readers or your friends and family to sponsor you. Just ask people how much they would like to donate for every that you spend reading. Then, when it’s over, you can donate to RIF in two ways.
1. You can ask blog friends or anyone else to donate directly to in one of the 7 ways available at the RIF website.
2. You can collect donations from people you know outside the internet, and then make one big donation yourself, at the link above.
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 let me know if/when you decide to join us!
Please go the The Hidden Side of a Leaf for the buttons!

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