Summer Reading: Family Night
Thanks to its partnership with publisher Eye on Education, Education World is pleased to present this article based on Family Reading Night, by Darcy J. Hutchins, Marsha D. Greenfeld, and Joyce E. Epstein.
This piece offers practical guidelines to help engage families in student accomplishments by conducting a successful family reading night.
Summer is the time for beach trips, sleepovers, barbeques, and all kinds of fun. It also is a good time for students to read for pleasure and learn new things. Summer Reading Family Night engages students and families in planning enjoyable reading activities for the summer.
This event includes a whole group word game, student presentations on favorite reading activities completed throughout the school year, and some ideas to take home for the summer.
Summer Reading Time (Whole Group)
Family members will work together or with other families to find words in the phrase “Summer Reading.” If they finish early, students and families can examine the collection of books in the room and discuss the kinds of books and magazines that they want to read over the summer.
Celebrating a Year of Reading
Prior to Summer Reading Family Night, ask students from one classroom or grade level to select their favorite reading or writing activities that they completed during the year to display at the event. Students may select a book report, poem, short story, diorama, or other reading and related writing activity that they enjoyed.
During Summer Reading Family Night, all students’ favorite reading and writing activities should be displayed around the room. Include with each product a display card with the student’s name, date completed, and a sentence written by the student about why they enjoyed the activity.
Select up to five students to present their projects. They will describe the class lesson, the reading or writing activity that they enjoyed, and show their work that resulted from the lesson.
Suggest home reading activities that students can complete with their families over the summer. Some suggested activities are included below.
Write a summer journal.
Write daily events in a notebook. You may write about what you played, who played with you, or a trip you took. Give your opinions about a movie you saw, a book you read, or food you ate. You will enjoy reading your summer journal later in the year.
Work with a parent to build, create, or cook something. You may build a model, learn to knit, cook a dessert, or follow other directions together.
Read for pleasure.
Set aside 15 minutes each night to read alone or read books aloud with your family. Parents may read books aloud to a young child or take turns reading aloud with an older child. Share what you are reading with your family and discuss why you like or dislike the books you read.
Organize a book club with family, friends, and neighbors.
Decide as a group which books you will read, when you will meet, and how you will discuss each book. Choose books each participant can read on his/her own, a book that a parent reads aloud, and a book that a child reads to a parent or family member.
Go to the library.
Ask the public librarian for recommendations of books to read and tips for starting or joining a book club. Check into other library activities.
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