A Winter Reading Night to Encourage a Love of Reading

This was a Primary School Learning Goal at a school in the United States that was taking part in the Partnership Schools programme.

Partnership Schools  Parental Engagement Type 1 – Parenting; also Type 6 – Collaborating with the Community

When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing better than curling up with a good book.  This is what happened at a primary school where children and family members were invited to come to school in pyjamas, bring blankets and pillows, and settle in for an evening of reading and learning together.

When they arrived, families found activities at different stations around the school, each run by a member of staff, secondary school pupils or parents. 

At the Family Reading Station, families read in a cozy classroom while enjoying biscuits and a cup of hot chocolate.  Parents read to their children from books borrowed from the school library.  They were excited to find that the Partnership Schools Action Team had asked local businesses and community groups to donate enough books for all participating children to take one home.

The Food Station offered meals donated by a local social enterprise.

In the school library, families could have a photo taken with Father Christmas posed in front of a wintry background decorated by a group of parents and secondary school pupils.  A local librarian was also on hand to encourage families to register for library cards.

At the second Food Station, families received a bag of food to take home, courtesy of a non-profit organisation that uses community funds to benefit families on low incomes.

The Action Team wanted the event to help families with English as an Additional Language (EAL).  As research suggests that all pupils would benefit from reading for pleasure at home at least 20 minutes a day, the team wanted to forge a strong connection between home and school to encourage a love of reading and to increase vocabulary in English.

The event was evaluated at the next team meeting where they discussed the post-it note feedback from the evening.  It was clear families valued the food and books they took home and all the ideas they gathered for encouraging children’s reading at home.  They evaluation also gave the team some ideas for the future including giving parents hand-outs with strategies for reading at home.

 

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