#LeadLIT Strategy: Give the Literal Gift of Reading with Birthday Books

Ever since I became principal in 2012, I have had a birthday bookshelf in my office. Funded by our Parent’s Club and Scholastic Book Fair Dollars, students are announced at our daily morning all school meeting and then come to the office for a book on their birthdays. I am able to spend a moment with them, snap a selfie, and gift them with a book.

The process is simple and I always like to break it down for others to understand how easy it really is.

  1. During morning announcements, share the names of all birthday students.
  2. At the conclusion of announcements, invite those students up for a #BirthdaySelfie
  3. Post the #BirthdaySelfie on social media for parents and families to see
  4. Print the #BirthdaySelfie using the HPSprocket
  5. Invite the student to the office following announcement to choose a book from the shelf.
  6. Sign the Book and spend a few moments celebrating the student.

This year I intend on adding a few other elements; including a birthday crown (We’re the DGS ROYALS) and personalized bookmark to go with the book.


Although I have been doing student birthday books for YEARS, I have reserved gifting my staff books as a whole during back to school time or teacher appreciation week. Many of my efforts have been general in the fact that everyone gets the same book. In many cases, this is powerful and can support important school goals or vision. In other ways, teachers are individuals and have different needs. As the gifting goes this year, I have created the Staff Birthday Book Cart that will be wheeled around to classrooms on staff member birthdays for them to choose a personalized book.

I’ve ordered and will stock the book with some favorite professional reads and non-fiction books for teachers to either add to their professional or classroom libraries. With a personalized card, birthday treat, and book, I’m hoping to recognize staff on their birthdays while promoting a love of reading and literacy. After all, the best gift, is the gift of learning!

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