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Literacy Night at Christmastime
Old 11-22-2018, 10:14 PM
 
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Hello, friends, Happy Thanksgiving! I am a veteran teacher to my building for many years, but I am new to the reading specialist position in my building. The tradition here has been to have a Title I literacy night in December....I'd like to change that eventually to January or February when families are less busy, BUT I'm trying to be respectful to the tradition for at least a year.

I am trying to plan the event while home here on Thanksgiving break. I know that my family gets strung from place to place all month in December, and what I really crave is a quiet night together. I was trying to think of ways to make this a laid-back night for families to enjoy the holidays. My initial thoughts: hot chocolate and Christmas cookies in one area, a couple rooms set up with comfy seats and pillows, Christmas lights, etc... where parents could read provided Christmas stories with their children. I was thinking about setting up some audio holiday book stations where parents could listen to a holiday story with their kiddos too. I have contacted our local city library's children's librarian to see if she would be available to share a holiday story or puppet show too. I ordered some holiday Mad Libs for parents to try with their kiddos as well. Perhaps some easy literacy-based board games to play with family....Boggle, Scrabble Slam, or others you recommend?

We will have the Scholastic Book Fair that night so my "draw" is going to be two "$100 shopping sprees" at the book fair. Do any of you have thoughts or suggestions as teachers or as parents on what would make this a special night for my families? Can't wait to hear all your creative ideas! Thanks!


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Sounds Wonderful
Old 11-23-2018, 07:04 AM
 
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It sounds like you will have a lot of support to help make this night a truly fun event. I love your ideas especially the Scholastic draw in. Here are some ideas I have done in the past when my school was given a budget for these types of events.

1) invite a local children's author to share their autobiography and of course read a book they wrote. Many will do this at a minimal cost to help sell their books.

2) invite parents to read a story that helped make as difference in their life or turned them onto reading.

3) If there are no authors that can come at this late date then how about a high school student that has won a writing contest . If you contact the AP English teachers ( speech teachers) from your local High School they may recommend students for storytelling, poetry readings etc. . . ( I remember when I was in 8th grade I shared my winning poem at a fundraiser. ) . It's even better if they are former students.

4) Invite a local book store owner to read a story. Many will donate a book for a prize.

4) . Most successful was having students perform a quick Reader's Theater based on a novel. One upper grade and one lower grade.

5) It's great you are serving food. . .We have had free pizza and a drink with a ticket

6) Do you have a staff member that plays a musical instrument? One of our Kinder teachers plays the guitar and sings. This is a great addition to have live music in the background of storytelling

I'll share actual reading ideas in the next post.
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Old 11-23-2018, 07:44 AM
 
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I like your ideas. I like literacy nights that show families how to easily do literacy stuff at home that is fun.
Maybe make the cookies a decorate your own station to add some fun? But it also adds expense and mess.
Maybe have some guests as elves, Mrs. Claus, Santa to read.
Writing letters to Santa with a special mailbox to send them.
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All good ideas
Old 11-23-2018, 08:40 AM
 
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All good ideas so far! I love it! Here are some more thoughts:

*PJs...what if students/families could wear PJs to the event? With it being cold in winter, and with the reading activities, this could make it comfy and cozy for them! Plus, with it being a late night, they could go right to bed when they get home without having to change! You could even add to the excitement/anticipation by seeing if the principal would allow students to wear PJs to school that day in anticipation for literacy night that evening. When my past school did literacy night, doing something in school that day that tied to the evening helped promote the event.

*Bring a book/Book exchange: Could students or families be encouraged to bring a wrapped book? You could have a Christmas tree as a decoration and the students could place wrapped books under the tree. The books be either part of a book exchange from people who attended and brought a book, or donated to a charity as part of charitable giving this season.

*Could you do something with reading directions? For the snack, have them follow directions to make/decorate a snack. Or, could the snack relate to some sort of Christmas themed book that was read at the event?

*Do you just want reading, or other aspects of literacy as well? If you are looking for other aspects of literacy, could you do something with writing letters and have a station where students write letters to Santa?

*Could you do something with Christmas Poetry? There are a ton of Christmas Poems out there!
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Old 11-23-2018, 09:57 AM
 
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I don't know your community, obviously, but don't forget about families that do not celebrate Christmas. I love the ideas that have been suggested, but if I were a Jehovah's Witness or Jewish or Muslim or...we would not be attending this literacy night and my kids would probably feel left out because they would miss the fun.


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Love it!
Old 11-23-2018, 11:08 AM
 
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Cookies and cocoa would be my pick, too - an invitation to slow down and just be together for an evening during an otherwise busy time.

I like the PJ idea, too (but I wouldn't pressure the adults to do that, because many won't feel at all comfortable!) It's a fun option for the littler kids, though.

The book swap is fabulous as well! When we did that, we didn't wrap them, just had tables set up in the gym, vaguely by age and fiction vs. non-fiction sections. We "seeded" them with donations, then for each book you brought in to trade, you got a ticket to take a book home.

You need a few volunteers to put the incoming books in the right places and keep things tidy, but high-schoolers needing community service are great for that! You can also include the option of bringing their trades into class for tickets the week before. That gives you (or the parents group if you're lucky!) a head start on the sorting, and the kids just bring their tickets to literacy night.
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Taoep
Old 11-23-2018, 11:44 AM
 
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Hi, TAOEP,

Yes, this event would not have been considerate if I were in the urban school where I taught years ago; I would have had to be more respectful to many faiths and cultures. The school where I am now is rural and to the good or bad, lacks a multicultural population. To my knowledge, all celebrate Christmas. This is why, in future years, I'd like to have it in January and February and just keep it more snow/winter themed, in the event there are children whose families would not be comfortable with a Christmas theme. Thank you for your thoughts!
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Totally doing the PJ's thing!
Old 11-23-2018, 12:06 PM
 
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Thank you for the PJ idea; that would make the night simpler yet for families! And I like the idea of wearing them to school the day of too to hype up the event!
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Taped to the wall
Old 11-23-2018, 04:33 PM
 
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See if the principal or someone else the kids know will do this. See link. The students would love it. Make sure they still have their hands free to read aloud to the crowd.

http://timmonstimes.blogspot.com/201...d-pay-off.html
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Cake Walk NO Book Walk
Old 11-23-2018, 04:36 PM
 
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We had teachers at our school pool their Scholastic points to get free books to give away. You could also take book donations. Then have a book walk to Christmas music. The winner gets to select a book for free. This was a big hit at our school on lit night. have students write their name in their book right away so if it gets lost it has their name and also they won't be able to comeback and exchange it for something different later.


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Holiday Bookmarks?
Old 11-23-2018, 04:40 PM
 
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Inexpensive holiday bookmarks could be made from kits. Oriental Trading usually has some class sets that are inexpensive. Or perhaps the art teacher would make a template of some sort and volunteers could cut cut all the paper to the right size ahead of time.
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Reading Songs
Old 11-23-2018, 04:44 PM
 
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Maybe there could be a station where they have to read the lyrics to a song while they are singing Christmas carols.
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Buy Raffle Tickets at the front door
Old 11-23-2018, 04:50 PM
 
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Each ticket is a dollar. They write their whole name on all the numbered tickets to go in jar. The money goes to the school librarian to buy new books or maybe just replace lost books for the school. Then toward the end of the night randomly draw some ticket winners from the jar and allow them to choose a free paperback book as a prize. You can announce the winners on the PA system. I would hang a sign that donations to the library are also welcome.

Or maybe just give away holiday pencils for a more affordable prize.
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Old 11-23-2018, 05:38 PM
 
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Lots of great ideas.

Quote:
To my knowledge, all celebrate Christmas.
If your knowledge is correct, than you may be ok. But, in my area we have a Christian church that celebrates Christmas religiously, but the children of members of the congregation do not participate in any school related Christmas activities. No ornament making. No buying at the Santa shop. No card exchanges. These Christian families would not come to the literacy night if the theme were Christmas.

I love the ideas you had, but in my school I'd change Christmas to winter, snow, and snowmen.
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Old 11-23-2018, 09:59 PM
 
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This sounds like so much fun! Cookies, hot chocolate and good books sounds like a perfect mix- Christmas themed or not! Love the idea of putting together songbooks and singing some carols as well
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Literacy Night
Old 11-24-2018, 02:00 PM
 
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We always have our Literacy Night the Thursday after Thanksgiving Week--so sometimes it is still in November (like this year) or in early December.

Even though Literacy Night is in the holiday season, we don't ever do a "Christmas" themed literacy night. We connect our Literacy Night with whatever "theme" our school has for that year. For example, our school-wide theme this year is camping, so our Literacy Night this year has a camping theme. Last year it was an "Under the Sea" theme and before that it was a contruction theme, sports theme, superhero theme, etc.

Just a thought for the future!
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Old 11-24-2018, 09:41 PM
 
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What about a gingerbread theme? There are a ton of different versions of the gingerbread man.
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hot chocolate
Old 11-25-2018, 09:03 AM
 
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A cut and paste activity for 2,3,4 graders: Have paper cup with words written on them. Cut and attach "marshmallows " that have synonyms for the word. This would encourage conversation between parents and children. It would be fun to have a little poem about synonyms or drinking/making hot chocolate, too.
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Craft?
Old 11-25-2018, 02:58 PM
 
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Maybe a simple craft / Christmas ornament where they have to read and follow the directions.

Themed crossword. / word search

Vocabulary or holiday riddles
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