My best friend, a 1st grade teacher in northern Virginia, was brainstorming on an end-of-year project to celebrate the reading both her students and parents have done this past year. She initiated a program called Reading Celebration,which emphasizes the importance of reading but also models fluency and expression in reading and nurtures expanding vocabulary.
The program has parents dropping by in on the third Thursday of the month at 2 p.m. for 25 minutes to read. She divides the class into reading groups based on the number of parents who attend (every month the number of parents has varied). The parents may either bring one of their books to read or select from the class library. The parents and their assigned reading groups may go outside, in the hall or find a quiet corner to read, discuss and enjoy.
Now that the end of the school year is upon us, my friend wants to celebrate the final Reading Celebration and have the students show appreciation for their parent readers. As we brainstormed over ideas for simple treats and small tokens of appreciation for her participating parents, we came up with “Build Your Own Ice Cream Sundae,” based on the popular book by Mo Willems, Should I Share My Ice Cream? (An Elephant & Piggie book). Additionally, during the celebration, the students would present bookmarks they hand made in appreciation of the parent readers.
This simple initiative has proven to be an easy way to increase parent participation and support the reading standards. To further support reading among her students while not in school, she will also be providing summer reading packets,which many of you also create. For those digitally savvy families, check out 21 of the Best Audio Books for Kids. These are free and fun for even the older ones.
Happy Memorial Day Reading to all.