Read Across NJ sample grants & additional activities

RANJ grant idea examples

Partner with a town or county library to distribute books for winter break with crafts and fun activities.

Host a spaghetti dinner where the cost of admission is books appropriate for a particular grade level. Following dinner, a guest reader will read to all the families present. Books collected can be donated to a school or shelter.

Solicit from the local public library a wish list of books of various reading levels that highlight diversity. Host a kickoff event with a guest reader when the books are donated. Ideally, the books would be ordered through an independent local bookstore.

Sponsor virtual readings every Thursday night with special guest readers. Families participating may receive a book ahead of the event to read along with the guest reader.

Host adult literacy nights in the high school media center culminating in a graduation ceremony for participants and their families with refreshments.

Students receive a punch card for their marking period reading challenge. Once a student meets their reading goals, they visit a local business listed on the card and talk to the owner about the book.  Students receive either a sticker or hole punch to indicate the visit is completed. Students with a full punch card will receive a free lunch at a local business.

Additional RANJ activities and possibilities

Guest authors and speakers for assemblies and visits

  • “Inspiring Children Through Kindness”

Authors of Beyond the Laces, Bob Salomon and Rick Young, provide a multidisciplinary presentation to assemblies at public schools. They touch upon core values of character building from the key themes of their book, especially kindness and perseverance, which may be helpful for a school’s anti-bullying campaign. To schedule a visit, call 732-604-0468 or email Website: Download a digital copy of BTL:

  • “A Journey of Perseverance and Determination”

Author of The Adventures of Lil’ Swoop, Dwayne “Swoop” Simpson, provides an inspiring and uplifting story of how Lil’ Swoop became a basketball player. He touches upon core values of never giving up, self-management and character development, along with the social and emotional learning journey of Lil’ Swoop. To schedule a visit, call 203-823-2343 or email To purchase the book, visit

Social justice centered reading program (includes curriculum and lesson plans)

  • Time Out for Black Lives is the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference’s program and curriculum that brings attention to the greatness of Black culture. It is a website that features college basketball student athletes and coaches reading children’s books that promote positive messages about Black culture, justice for all, and education. For more information, visit or email at .

Incentivized reading program

  • BOOK IT!  Since 1984, the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! program has been dedicated to encouraging reading in schools nationwide. To make a difference, you really have to Read Your Heart Out®. It is the largest and longest-running corporate supported reading program and is now fostering a second generation of program alumni. It’s time to turn “have to read” into “want to read.”

Student-athlete in-person visits, mascot visits, read-along videos, and virtual visits

  • Rutgers University Sports program events will include the mascot, pizza and players reading to children for local associations participating in Pizza Hut’s BOOK IT! program. There are limited events available. Reach out to Meredith Barnes to coordinate: .