Recently a friend contacted me for some literacy ideas to share with parents to help promote the love of reading. I know if one person has this question, many others do as well. I have found blogging to be an excellent tool for sharing ideas and gaining new ones! In this post I will share a few ideas and hope readers will share others in the comment section.
Several years ago I had the privilege to help the teachers and the administrator of an elementary school put on family reading nights. Two separate nights were planned focusing on the grade level spans of K-2 and 3-5. The purpose of each evening was to share a reading technique with parents/guardians that they could do at home.
The evenings all had the same schedule. The strategies and ideas changed to fit the specific grade level span.
1. Family would join together for a meal provided by the school. This was particular helpful and usually brought a large crowd.
2. Once the family meal was over, the teachers would take students to classrooms and engage them in some reading activities. The parents/guardians would stay together in a larger meeting area – in our case the gym.
3. A reading technique would be shared with the parents/guardians. This included describing the approach. A demonstration was provide, usually via video. The demonstrations were provided in both English and Spanish due to the population of our school. The videos were made at school with actual teachers/students from the school (with parent permission, of course). We wanted the videos to have a homey feel. In many cases the videos were shot in a classroom that happened to have a sofa and lamp. We didn’t want the videos the appear too school-like. A laminated bookmark was also given to the parents/guardians that described the approach. These were theirs to keep and take home.
4. The students reunited with their family. Prior to joining us in the gym the students were given the opportunity to choose a book that would be theirs to keep! Students could choose books in either English or Spanish or both.
5. The parents/guardians would then have an opportunity to try out the reading approach learned that evening with their child and the new books! The teachers would provide support as needed.
The Family Reading Nights were always well attended both by the families and volunteer teachers. They were a great way to promote reading at home.
You can find the bookmarks we used here. Our students were predominately English Language Learners and spoke Spanish at home. The bookmarks were printed in English on one side and Spanish on the other.
Have you had Family Reading Nights at your school? What have you found to be successful? Please consider sharing your ideas!
During March, I am blogging daily as a part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge! More Slice of Life posts can be found on Two Writing Teachers.