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The Margin Project

What It Is:

Lots of things are way more fun when shared with a friend, whether it’s videogames played together via remote headsets or TV shows watched while following a Twitter hashtag. But for the most part, reading has remained a solitary activity. Sometimes that’s what's so great about it. Other times, it would be kind of cool to know exactly what your BFF thought of that scene on page 116, wouldn’t it?


The Margin Project puts forth an odd notion: that it’s okay to write in books. Not all of them, and definitely not ones that belong to your school or library (unless it’s designated part of The Margin Project, that is), but some of them. Specifically, books that have a bookplate in the front proclaiming “This Book Is Part of The Margin Project.” Then it’s totally okay to write in it. What do you write? Anything that pertains to your thoughts and feelings as you read. You can even doodle a picture- maybe a teardrop if it’s a sad scene or a heart if there’s a line you adore. Just keep it clean and friendly and everyone’s happy! 


How It Works:

Your teacher or librarian can designate books in your classroom or library, or you can choose ones from your personal collection, to be part of The Margin Project by placing the special bookplate in the front of the book (use the free printable template below). Then mark away as you read. When you’re done, share it with a friend. It’s tons of fun to get it back later and see what others had to say as they read. You can each pick a different color pen to write with or use a symbol before each of your comments, if you're sharing with more than one person. A simple key on the back page (purple pen=Kristen or $ =Sarah) will let every reader know who said what.


Who It’s For:

The Margin Project is great for classrooms, library reading groups, mother-daughter book clubs, Girl or Boy Scout troops, pen pals, far-flung family members, or close-by family members- basically, anyone you want to share a reading experience with. Or mark up your own book and leave it on a bench for a stranger to find!


How It Came To Be:

In late 2013, a number of 2014 debut authors began sending advance copies of their books "on tour" via mail to each other, in order to help spread the word of their upcoming releases. As great as it was to read the printed words, the notes and drawings the writers left on one another’s book as they read were just as much fun! (See some examples to the left.) And it got me thinking. Anything that makes reading even more fun just has to be shared, right? Right! 



Which is also why it would be great if you’d

share snapshots of your own Margin Project

experiences on this Pinterest page. See what

others are reading and writing and get ideas

of your own. 



Read one mom's experience of sharing The Margin

Project with her daughter.


Learn how a library in Virginia instituted The Margin

Project as a yearlong project for teens.


And here it is in use in an elementary school. including

a follow-up on how it was received by students.


Here's an example of a teacher using The Margin

Project as the basis of a Donors Choose campaign.


Scroll down to grab a "I participate in 

The Margin Project" widget for your blog or website. 

Wanna join the project? Use these free printable templates to designate books in your collection:



Copy and paste the image below to grab an "I participate in The Margin Project" widget for your

blog or webpage. 



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