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Family Literacy Night

Written by Tina Montes
June 22, 2021

When I was invited to be part of the Great Valley Writing Project, I honestly wasn’t sure because I am not a writer. In fact, I struggle to write but because I desire to be a better writer I joined.  I was excited when I found out we would be holding a family literacy night for our students.  I teach first grade at McKinley Elementary in Stockton, California.  My school has about 800 students with most of our students living in low socioeconomic homes.  Normally we have a nice turnout at our family events but with virtual teaching, I was not convinced that I could create enough excitement to get students to show up.  

I forged ahead and began planning with the help of our awesome mentor we planned as a group.  The decision was made as a team that we would let the students attend the activity of their choice and we would also allow family members to participate.   To keep the event manageable, we decided to limit the event to twenty-five students and their families per activity. My event for family literacy night was friendship bracelets and the other events offered were rainbows, volcanos, origami, paint and sip, and dream catchers.  Supplies were ordered and we began to create excitement for our event. 

 A huge number of the students showed interest in attending.  We were able to fill all available spaces including many family members. I talked daily about the events, sent out messages to the parents, and posted about it in Seesaw.  The students were getting so excited, and they brought it up daily before the event.  The night arrived and unfortunately, my event, as well as one of my teammate’s events, had zero attendees.  The other four events had a nice turnout and I loved seeing the smiling faces when they shared pictures from their events.  I saw two of my students making volcanoes with their moms smiling in the background.  Although some of the students did not show up, I saw something important happening. I observed parents participating with their students. We know that research shows that when parents are involved students do better in school.  I would definitely call this event a success!  

Would I do it again?  Yes, I would definitely hold one of these events again!  I know from past events that the turnout would be double or triple the number of students at this event if we are able to hold the event in person.  If it is not possible next year, I have a plan.  My plan is to deliver the materials needed to participate, hopefully encouraging the kids to participate.