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"Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future."
~ Ray Bradbury~

ETRTR Slide Show

The School Program

Welcome! Our goal is to get students moving and reading. We understand that implementation of the ETRTR program will differ from school to school, so we've done our best to make things flexible.

  • Start whenever best fits your school's calendar and adapt the program to your school's needs.
  • All handouts linked to this site are free and may be used without restriction--go ahead and copy!
  • You are "on your honor" to submit 10% of your fundraising efforts to First Book (the community service portion of this program) and by doing so you become eligible for the prizes drawing, which is held every May.

By participating in the program outlined below, students and faculty will meet fitness, literacy, and community service goals in one comprehensive program, while simultaneously raising funds for their own school. (See the fun activities below to help get kids inspired!)

How it works: Participating students and staff collect pledges for doing the following activities:

  • Reading 26 minutes each day for 26 days (one for each mile of a marathon)
                This could be...
                            Silent reading
                            Reading to a younger child or sibling
                            Reading to a parent or caregiver
                            Being read to by a parent, teacher, or caregiver
  • And running (or walking) one mile a day for 26 days
                This could be...
                            An individual effort
                            A school-wide activity
                            A lunch-time (or after school, or before school) run-club

Timeframe: Any time that suits your school. Consider timing the program so the last (say) 3 miles could be done at a local race -- it's a great community tie-in and will give kids a fun introduction to running 5Ks. (Invite a local author to lead the pack!)

Basic Logistics: We've made it easy! Just...

  • Download the Pledge Form
  • Copy and distribute forms to your faculty and student body
  • Inspire participation with some of these great ideas from other educators
  • Submit 10% of your proceeds to First Book.
    Simply mail a school or PTO/A check made out to First Book with ETRTR School Program in the memo space to:

    First Book / ETRTR Campaign
    1319 F Street, NW, Suite 1000
    Washington, DC 20004-1155

  • Send us an e-mail to let us know of your contribution--we will enter your school in the Prizes Drawing.

There are many ways to get your school and community excited about this campaign. Try these suggestions and check out the links!

  • Contact your local media and tell them what you're doing!
  • Invite parents to run or read!
  • Ask community members and businesses to Adopt Your School
  • Start each day of the campaign with an Inspirational QUOTATION
  • Play for or teach your students the Exercise the Right to Read JINGLE!
  • Have students track their progress on their own MARATHON MAP!
  • Copy and distribute "Read a Marathon" BOOKMARKS!
  • Print out & wear, or T-shirt transfer Exercise the Right to Read RACE BIBS !
  • Share interesting Educational HANDOUTS with your students, including:
    "A Brief History of the Library", "The History of the Marathon", "5 Steps to Becoming a Runner", and "Healthy Eating Starts with Reading" (the nutrition label, that is!)
  • Challenge your students to make your school a PRIZE WINNER!
  • One of our sponsors has agreed to sell Exercise the Right to Read T-shirts
    to schools at the amazing price of $4.50 each. If you're interested, drop us a line--we'll send you more info.

Watch the excitement build as your students
Exercise the Right to Read!

Just a few of the e-mails that have come in from…


Educators Across America

  • From ILLINOIS:  Chicago is ready to run and read!  As a reading specialist for 22 Chicago Public Schools, we are looking forward to having our students and teachers take on this challenge. Chicago teachers applaud you for making a difference in literacy and children’s physical fitness. 
  • From CALIFORNIA: We love your program! Our school will be adopting a sister school—running and reading to raise books for their library. We’re excited about the opportunity to do this for someone else!
  • From MINNESOTA: Our school library budget has been cut by over 35% next year.  This will be an exciting boost for us!! 
  • From IOWA: What a wonderful event! I love the handouts that incorporate so many subjects, such as history, math, reading, and P.E. !
  • From MARYLAND: We can't wait to have our Waterloo Wildcats participate! Our PTA, teachers and staff know how important it is for our students to improve their minds and their bodies, and this program should be a big hit here.
  • From PENNSYLVANIA: We’ve formed a committee of teachers, and have gotten the PTO on board. We will definitely be participating! The district has instituted a new wellness policy so we're also hoping to get the cafeteria involved. Awesome program!
  • From NEVADA: Thanks for making participation so easy! This program offers the opportunity to read, exercise, and grow our new library. My 5th graders are excited to lead our school to the finish line!
  • From OHIO: We are pumped to read and run!
  • From MICHIGAN: Hi! I met with our P.E. Department today. Our school will be doing this awesome program! Thanks for bringing our departments together!
  • From INDIANA: Thanks for doing this for America's kids and schools!
  • From NEW YORK: I am a library teacher at an elementary school in Queens. We have about 700 students, and I am thrilled to tell you that we will participate this fall! 
  • From COLORADO: We are really excited about this reading and running celebration. We plan to "Buddy Read" in the library, allowing our upper grades to read to our lower grades.
  • From MASSACHUSETTS: We've been looking for a way to promote reading and physical activity as lifelong habits. Your program will tie in wonderfully with our goals!
  • From TEXAS: We intend to take this and run with it! It’s a great way to teach our kids about helping those who are less privileged.
  • From NEW HAMPSHIRE: The district's reading specialists, librarians, P.E. teachers, and technology specialists are united in getting all our schools moving and reading right when we get back to school.  We can't wait to get new books into kids' hands!
  • From WISCONSIN: What an exciting program! I’ll be spreading the news!
  • From IDAHO: It’s wonderful to be part of a program that promotes reading, healthy bodies and giving to those that are less fortunate. We are pumped!
  • From OKLAHOMA: This will be a great experience for our school!
  • From NEW JERSEY: I am VERY enthused! I need to move into new habits, as do many of my students. I really like the idea of 26 min. of exercise & 26 min. of reading each day!
  • From ALABAMA: Thanks for this educational/recreational opportunity! We are excited!
  • From SOUTH CAROLINA : Our school has a big emphasis on community and service, and our sixth graders study Ancient Greece every year. This campaign is a perfect way to combine a Community and Service Project with content area coursework!
  • From MISSOURI: I am a 6th grade teacher and have used your books as read-alouds. When I saw this campaign, my admiration of your work grew! We will participate this fall!

"Every great achievement is the victory of a flaming heart."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson~

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