Not sure what a family reading night is but I organize this every year. It is called a Lamplighters Night. I teach year 1 and we invite all pre primaries, year 1 and year 2 students in the school to come into our room. Double classroom. We have fairy lights up. I have a group of older students read to the 5, 6 7 year olds. Big kids being between 9-12. They read one book show the pictures etc and the children move on to the next reader. it goes for 45 minutes and the parents go to another room for tea and coffee and a chat. We have done it for 4 years and get a huge response. We have it after school about 6.15 to 7pm. The staff then go out to dinner to unwind. Not that we do a great deal. The children all come dressed in the pyjamas.-|---
A group at a local private school got a grant that paid for a reading night at our school, with the help of our PTO. The "big kids", high school aged, handed out a free tee-shirt for each arriving student that had our school name and the title of the event. Then they acted out a story on stage.
There were donations from local businesses. Each kid drew a numbered ticket from a "treasure" box. There was one set for kids second grade and below, and another for grades 3-6. The prizes were determined by the number on the ticket. Some got a candy, others a coupon for a mini-pan pizza or something at a fast food restaurant.
There were cups of juice and a mixed bag of munchies for each family.
The bag had a mixture of crackers, pretzels, popcorn and a few m&m's.
Parents had brought a blanket to sit on, a favorite family book and a flashlight. The gym was darkened and familes read in their own space. It was fun to see the number of babies brought along in carriers, a real family event.
A few of us were around to provide a flashlight or books for families who had not brought their own. The whole thing lasted about an hour from 6:30 pm. That was so that the little ones could get home and to bed at a reasonable time to be ready for the next school day.
Our Title I program sponsors a make-and-take game night each year.
We set up stations with games to make, markers, glue, etc. Each family gets a grocery bag to take home about 4 educational games. We include dice and playing pieces. At each station the kids get to make a game and have a few minutes to try it out with parents. There are cookies and juice available. There are prizes for all the kids, some donated, others paid for by our program; books, crayons, pencils. We also have a table of brochures and information for parents to take about growth and development, how to help your child read, etc.
I have organized many of these for my buildings. We have 8-10 activities for parents to do with their children, all pertaining to reading- Reading games, phonics activities, listening activities, comprehension strategies, info on learning styles, and of course a reading corner where either we read to the children or the parents can sit and read with their children. We have door prizes and participation bags. Finally we have a big graffitti wall where parents and kids can write their comments (they love writing on the "school walls" ). We also had a couple of writing stations to show parents how reading and writing go hand in hand.
I love the post about the flashlight reading night! Maybe we'll try that!
Here are some of the favorite activities our parents/students liked at our many literacy nights -
---The Race is On: students/parents made a trail game with 3-5 trails (one for each school age child in the family). Parents can play with all of their kids at one time. Each child has flash cards on what they need to work on : vocab. words, spelling, math problems, etc.
---Various Bingo boards: long/short vowels, sight words, synonyms,antonyms.
---Following directions: We collected all kinds of cereal boxes, food boxes, cola boxes throughout the year, then cut patterns and let the kids follow written directions to make junk boxes. Some of our classroom teachers picked up on this and had the kids make the boxes to wrap gifts for their parents @ Christmas.
---Making words. We made enough sets of letters (from Pat Cunningham's book) for each family that registered. Then we showed them how to use them at home.
---Couponing: We showed parents all kinds of ways to use coupons: sort & classify, alphabetize, drawing a map of your grocery store to locate the items. The list is endless
---Reading Corner: Parents picked a book and read to/with their child. We also had handout on how to know when a book is too hard for your child.
---Magazine/Book Swap. This idea started as a swap, but many of our families don't subscribe to magazines, so our librarian donated old magazines/books. Each student that came to our literacy night got to pick out one book or magazine to take home. This is a wonderful way to recycle all those old magazines.
For one of our family reading nights, we have "game night". We have purchased many games (age and time appropriate), serve popcorn, and punch (in a cup with a lid and straw), and the child and parents play together. We provide child care for siblings. A teacher or teen helper is posted with each game to have the game set up and ready to go and to quickly explain the directions/rules. Our activity lasts about 1hr.to 1hr.15min. Each family is usually able to play 2-3 different games. We divide our game nights into grade levels (k-1, 2-3, 4-5). Before the games begin, we share with the parents the many benefits of playing games with their children-both educational and social. We use our cafeteria, set the games up on the tables, have a helium balloon taped to each table game area with a small sign telling the game offered at that area. It gives a festive look to the room. If the budget doesn't allow for the purchase of lots of games, many of our teachers have loaned us games that they have at home. Our activity usually takes place in November and I have heard parents say that they intend to buy some of the games for Christmas that they enjoyed with their children. This is a plus if you have local stores that might contribute a game to the school. I know our Wal-Mart store has benefited from our game night.