“Read Like Mad” Challenges Community to Read for a Cause


    Summer’s over, kids are back in school, and it’s time to do more reading — why not read for a good cause?

    Madison Reading Project, which provides free books and literacy programming for at-risk children in South Central Wisconsin, is running its Read Like Mad game for the second year.

    “It’s a community reading game, but it’s also a fundraising game for our nonprofit,” says Madison Reading Project Executive Director Rowan Childs. “Anyone can play it. Adults. Kids. There’s a game board that people can download and print off to fill out the books that they read. And by signing up, you become part of the game with weekly prizes and then also, some grand prizes for the people who read the most books in the eight weeks.”

    The game also encourages readers to diversify their selection of books.

    “Often, people just get kind of stuck in what they normally read. Especially adults do,” Childs says. “So the game board has different categories, and one of those things that people have said that they liked is, you know, the Wisconsin authors, diverse authors, romance.  If you try and fill in a category, you might read, you know, a graphic novel, or something that you normally wouldn’t pick.”

    The board is available for download from the game’s website or for pickup at sponsor locations. The registration fee is $10, and players can pledge any amount per book read, which becomes a donation to Madison Reading Project.

    “Some people might pledge $10 a book. Some people might pledge five bucks. Other people know they’re not going to read that much, so they might pledge more than that,” Childs says.

    Weekly random drawing prizes include gift cards to local businesses like Inner Fire Yoga, Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, Vitense Golfland and more.

    The grand prize for the person who reads the most books is a behind-the-scenes look at the Wisconsin State Journal, a subscription to the paper and lunch at Liliana’s. Second prize is an art party at Bare Knuckle Arts and third is one night at the Grand Stay Suites in Mt. Horeb and six passes to Dolphin’s Cove at Prairie Athletic Club.

    Childs says last year’s winner was a kid who burned through 39 books in eight weeks.

    But the main thing is to support reading for others, and contribute toward the $5,000 fundraising goal, which will support Madison Reading Projects programming and purchase of books for children.

    Childs says about 60 people played the game last year, and within the first week this year nearly 40 had signed up.

    “If you’re trying to read more books, or trying to get your kid into reading with back to school, or if an adult didn’t read a lot over the summer, and they have a personal goal of reading a certain amount of books by the end of the year, then this is a good way to do it and to read for a good cause,” Childs says.