Literacy Night 2021
National Writing Project (SJVWP)
Hannah Johnson & Daniela Saavedra
For the 2020 – 2021 school year, Hannah and Daniela both taught in Sanger Unified School District at Lincoln Elementary School. Hannah had the privilege of teaching first grade and Daniela had the privilege of teaching sixth grade. Each of our school years were filled with many challenges, changes and adaptations. This year was also overflowing with lots of laughter, growth and learning along the way. Prior to the school year starting, we partnered with the Panda Fellowship, which is also known as The National Writing Project. We have a strong love for Literacy, which made this writing project so intriguing for us. During this writing project, we were asked to host a Literacy night at our school site and we were very excited to have the opportunity to do so. Given the uniqueness of the school year and with the pandemic, we were forced to host our Literacy Event online. Nonetheless, it was a great event and we were thrilled to be able to put it on for our students and our families. Let me tell you a little bit about our event.
Literacy Night was held on February 12, 2021. Our theme for the event was, “Falling In Love With Reading and Writing”. We chose this theme because we wanted our students to learn to love reading and writing, just as we do. We believe that every child should have the opportunity to learn to love both. We felt that in the process of learning to love reading and writing, they need to feel supported to become successful. In addition, we understand that reading and writing can be daunting for young children. Literacy Night was put on in the hopes that it would support our student’s parents in supporting their early literacy, as well as supporting the students in their journey of balanced literacy. Our goal for this event was to connect with our families and our students. We wanted to lay down a path for them that would not only help the students, but help the families in supporting the students in their early Literacy as well.
Literacy Night was offered for our Kindergarten, First and Second Grade students. It was held online and was the length of an hour. In preparation of the event, we sent home an informational flyer. Attached to the flyer was an RSVP slip for the parents to fill out and send back with their child. We received a total of twenty reservations. Once we knew how many students and parents were going to join us, we bought the necessary supplies. We chose to create a “swag bag” which would hold all of their important documents and items that they would need for the activities during our event. For our swag bag, we bought pencils, crayons, markers, sticky notes, note cards, whiteboard markers, journals, erasers, highlighters and much more. We also bought each student three books to put into their swag bag. In addition to these supplies and books, we put together and included a packet full of informational pages that pertained to early literacy and each grade specific level that was attending. In the packet, we included each grade level’s sight word list; as well as, our districts guided reading strategies for supporting reading at home.
We planned a variety of activities that we felt would help support our students’ learning needs, as well as the needs of our parents to best support their child. Our activities began at the Kindergarten level and progressed our activities to First Grade level; then lastly, Second Grade level. Phonemic Awareness was a huge skill that we covered and practiced. We had a variety of activites that included but is not limited too, rhyming, segmenting, blending, beginning sound discrimination, a read aloud, comprehension and writing. Our event began with going over ways to practice phonemic awareness and phonics at home. We played a few games with the families to show them how quick, easy and simple they are to do! In addition, we made sure to explain the importance of each skill as we were doing them.
After this, we began a read aloud of the book Bear Snores On. We had an English version that Hannah read and a Spanish version that Daniela read. Throughout the read aloud, we asked a variety of comprehension questions and showed parents things to do when reading to or with their child that would help encourage comprehension skills. Once our read aloud was finished, we went into our writing activity. We had the children write about their favorite part of the story. For the little ones, we provided a sentence frame and had them write one sentence. For the older kids, we had them write two to four sentences. After the children wrote about their favorite part and drew a picture to match, we had students share what they read. The kids did such a great job! We were so proud of them and they were so proud of themselves. Many of our students were eager to share, which was amazing to see because it proved that Literacy Night made an impact. After the students who wanted to share got to share, we ended our event with a raffle and many thank you’s. Each student received a prize. The smiles on their faces were priceless. Although we wish we could have hosted our Literacy Night in person, it was such an amazing experience. We were thrilled to see how involved our families and students became in our online event. It was also very rewarding to see the parents and children working together. After the event, we had staff members and parents tell us how much they enjoyed it. Overall, we believe that it was a great event and we were happy to be able to host it.
By: Hannah Johnson and Daniela Saavedra