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SOAR (Stop Often and Read)

SOAR is a PTO-sponsored in-school event (usually on a Friday afternoon in late January) which offers every student a cup of hot cocoa and a free Scholastic book. Parent volunteers make cocoa in the faculty lounge and bring the cocoa to the classrooms over the course of approximately 3 hours. Juice boxes are provided for students with dairy allergies.
SOAR coordinators are responsible for ensuring that SOAR has enough books so that the students have a variety from which to choose. Generally, there should be about 1.5 times the number of books per student in each grade (e.g., 75 books for 50 kindergartners). SOAR coordinators purchase books with “Scholastic dollars.”
In the beginning of the school year, count the number of SOAR books in the PTO closet. In mid to late fall, the PTO Book Fair coordinator provides SOAR coordinators with a link to create a “wish list” on the Scholastic website. Try to purchase economically (e.g., sale items, 6-pks, variety packs, “bruised books”) as well as a few splurges ($6 - $7 books). Once the wish list is complete, the Book Fair coordinator purchases the books. SOAR coordinators may also purchase books with PTO money during the BOGO Book Fair in the spring.
Remember if teachers offer book suggestions that the teachers have access to a different Scholastic website than the Book Fair coordinators have access to. The different websites have different books and different prices for the same books.
Purchase (give receipts to PTO treasurer):
  • 8 28 oz. cans of hot cocoa (ensure no peanut/tree nut ingredients)
  • 2 boxes of juice boxes
  • 15 bags of mini-marshmallows
  • Labels for inside cover of books
  • One sponge for cleaning faculty lounge
  • Approximately 400 8.5 oz cups for hot beverages (enough for all students, teachers, and staff)
3 weeks before SOAR:
  • Create Doodle Poll for teachers to sign up for time slots for cocoa/book delivery. (In 2016, SOAR had 5 time slots, 20 minutes apart, in which 4 teachers could sign up at a time). Write email to teachers explaining SOAR and asking them to sign up. Forward letter to PTO president for approval. Ensure that the letter goes to the special needs teacher, as well as all other teachers. Sample letter:
Hello, Easterly Parkway Teachers:
Please use the link below to sign-up for your SOAR (Stop Often and Read) time slot, scheduled for Friday, January 29th, between 1 - 2:20pm. When you take the poll, please include your classroom number next to your name. Similar to last year, the poll will only allow for four teachers to sign-up for each time slot.
SOAR is a PTO-sponsored event in which parent volunteers bring hot cocoa + marshmallows (juice boxes for lactose intolerant/allergic students) to each classroom and offer each Easterly Parkway student the opportunity to choose one Scholastic book to keep and enjoy.
Please contact me with any questions (
Thank you,
(SOAR coordinator)
  • Create VolunteerSpot sign-ups for parent volunteers.
Ask parents to bring in on the day of the event (with names labeled on them):
  • 3 extra-large stove-top pots for boiling water
  • 5 crock pots
  • 2 two-quart measuring cups/pitchers
  • 4 ladles with spouts
  • Ask for volunteers to help 2 weeks before SOAR, the afternoon before SOAR, and the day of SOAR:
Two weeks before SOAR:
  • 2 – 3 volunteers to put labels in books and organize into kindergarten; primary (1st/2nd grade); 3rd/4th grade; and 5th grade boxes. Ensure each box has reading levels appropriate for all students in grades. Labels should read “SOAR – Stop Often And Read. Compliments of the Easterly Parkway PTO”. Download a Sample of the Labels
  • The afternoon before the event: 2 – 3 volunteers to help put books on 3 rolling book carts (one for each hallway – kindergarten/5th grade; 1st/2nd grades; 3rd/4th grade). Rolling carts can be found in the storage room next to the custodians’ room. Tape signs on rolling carts: “SOAR. Enjoy one book per student. Compliments of the PTO.”
Day of SOAR:
  • Need 4 – 5 volunteers to set up about 1.5 hours before the first cocoa delivery time slot. Need 8 volunteers during cocoa delivery times and to put away books, carts, etc. and the clean the faculty lounge.
  • Sample letter to volunteers (send to PTO president for approval):
Hello, Easterly Parkway Parents/Guardians:
The PTO is sponsoring this year's Stop Often And Read (SOAR) event on Friday, January 29th, where we give every student a new Scholastic book and a cup of warm cocoa. We need a few volunteers to help make it happen! This even takes place during school hours. Specifically, we would like to borrow a few extra-large stove-top pots, large crock pots, ladles with spouts, and 2-qt measuring cups/pitchers (all labeled with your name on it).
Additionally, the team needs some help labeling and organizing the books at 3pm on Thursday, January 28th, and some volunteers on Friday, the 29th to help make and distribute cocoa and to clean up.
We're using VolunteerSpot to organize our upcoming activity. **********************************************************************************************
Please sign up for SOAR (Stop Often And Read)!
Here's how it works in 3 easy steps: 1. Click this link to go to our invitation page on VolunteerSpot: 2. Enter your email address: (You will NOT need to register an account on VolunteerSpot) 3. Sign up! Choose your spots - VolunteerSpot will send you an automated confirmation and reminders. Easy!
The day of the SOAR event:
  • Bring in 3 – 4 dish towels from home to use during event.
  • Borrow 4 XL trays from the cafeteria.
  • Borrow 4 rolling carts (2 from front office, 1 UPS cart, 1 from library).
  • Borrow 2 – 3 power strips (may be in faculty lounge cabinets)
  • Borrow (from custodians) long table to set crock pots on if there is not one already set up along the wall in the faculty lounge
  • Begin boiling water about an hour before the first distribution is scheduled.
After the event:
  • Clean and return all borrowed items.
  • Clean faculty lounge.
  • Count books/grade left after the event. Return them to PTO closet.