Teachers will dress like 1950s bell hops and deliver a book for you to read to your child right to your car window.
Educators also will organize Bingo games and cake walks while giving your child a book as a prize. Some dress up like storybook characters to delight the youngest readers. Organizers of literacy nights will try and entice families into schools after hours with promises of pizza, prizes and books.
Literacy nights are heating up across the county. If your child goes to an elementary school, chances are their school organizes, plans and hosts at least one literacy night during the school year.
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Literacy nights are a way to get parents at the school so they can encourage reading at home and to help tout the importance of reading for pleasure to students, educators said.
“It is a pretty inexpensive way to promote fun, literacy for all of families,” said Alysha Sherry, gym teacher and literacy night organizer at Creekside Elementary School.
Schools plan literacy nights mostly in September, to catch families at the beginning of the school year and to get parents into their child’s school.
Some are planned in conjunction with the school’s book fair, so students can spend the week shopping for just the right book, educators said.
Teachers have less and less time in the classroom to do optional activities such as read aloud to their students, which can create a gap in students realizing that reading for pleasure will help them in their total education, Sherry said.
And teachers only have students for about six and a half hours a day, meaning learning must also happen at home for students to be successful, said Sherrill Hofer, first-grade teacher at Clark Elementary School.
“(We want) to give these kids as much support as they can,” she said.
Part of the goal in hosting literacy nights is to show parents tips and tricks on how they can teach their child at home and to open up the school to them so that they are comfortable coming in if there is a problem, Hofer said.
“Parents want to help their students become better readers and better at math, but don’t know what to do,” she said.
Literacy nights across the county typically also include ways for students to get better at math. Most of that time, this includes a game students can play with their parents.
Webb Elementary School also has hosted science and math nights, in addition to their drive-thru literacy night, where teachers deliver books to cars, said Jayme Abel, Title 1 teacher at the school.
“It’s a great way to connect with parents on a fun level and get them interested in learning and their child’s reading,” she said.
Elements of literacy nights almost always include a pizza dinner and a free book for students and families at the end of the night, educators said.
Organizers try to think of ways to make the evenings fun and meaningful, they said.
Games and prizes are a must. Teachers sometimes dress up in costumes and walk the hallways. Creekside Elementary School’s Bingo for Books was started in the name of a teacher who loved all of her students.
Conducting the evening costs most PTOs a few hundred dollars, which is an affordable outreach to get families in the door of the school, Sherry said.
“Our focus is to encourage families that it doesn’t take much to help a child read,” she said.