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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Literacy Afternoon

This week, I'm sure, there are MANY great things planned to promote reading. You know with the birthday celebration of the Dr. himself---it stands to be a wonderful week across the country.  In my building, we are trying to promote literacy at home as well. 

Many of you know about the area in which I teach..struggling students, and unfortunately, some struggling parents.   They so desperately want to be able to help at home, but the resources and ideas don't come as quickly to them, as they do in a home where mom or dad is a teacher.  Let's face it---our own children are so lucky to have us----EVEN IF THEY DON'T REALIZE IT! :)  We have the know how, the tools, the resources, the training to help our own kiddos, but do we really explain it to the parents of our students?  I know that I give ideas, packets, strategies during conferences and mini-conferences, or at a parent's request--but I wanted something more for my families.

Several years ago I was working in another building in my district.  I tried to hold a literacy evening.  Same idea, same concept as what we're planning this week, but it didn't pan out and I only had two parents want to attend out of THREE first grade classes.  YIKES!

So here I am again....getting this idea in my head..wanting to help my families/students.  I wanted to do it this past fall, but timing just didn't happen.  SOOO--I went to my principal a few weeks ago and told her that I wanted to do this during Read Across America week.  She agreed it was a good time, and I have my K-1 coworkers on board as well.   Little did I know that I was also roping in our Title director---thanks to her we were able to get funds for at home resources!!  WOOT WOOT!

THEN--I find out that during one of our TBTs (Teacher Based Teams) that our Superintendent was sitting in to find out what our literacy afternoon was about.  Can we say NERVOUS?  Friends, I DO NOT speak well in front of peers/coworkers/groups.  Give me a classroom full of firsties any day--just not adults!  BUT, my K-1 friends and I rocked it!  We had our Superintendent on board as well! 

It was official and we were ready to roll with our planning!
A quick overview of our afternoon:

1) It was suggested to do it during the day.  (Our students release at 3:05, but we have parents waiting to pick up their children at 2:00.)  Our afternoon will be 1:30-3:00.
2) If you feed them, they will come.  I HOPE!  (Our Superintendent called a local chip company, and they are donating chips our way.  My principal, I believe is getting pizza and pop for us.)  We are feeding them AFTER the activities. :)
3) A raffle will entice them.  (We have a discarded computer that has been cleaned up and ready to go for a giveaway.)  An entry form went home on the letter to parents.  They have to be present for their chance to win.
4) Free games/resources to use AT HOME!  

 We wanted all the activities planned to be something that was cost friendly for parents, yet fun and educational for students.  I tried to get items from the Dollar Tree, or use resources found at home where possible.  

The students and a parent will be together doing the following activities. 

Activities Planned:
1) Play Dough:

 Parents/students will be given a bag of play dough.  They will use it to form letters.  This can be used as the parent calling out a letter and the child making the letter.  It can be used as a parent giving the sound and the child making the letter that makes that sound.  It can be used to create sight words.  The play dough can be flattened and you can write words, letters, sounds with a toothpick in the play dough, use alphabet cookie cutters to cut out letters, etc.   We are sending them home with the Kool-Aid recipe seen below (you can click the image to grab you a copy). 
Play Dough Recipe
 And they will also take home a small sample of play dough to get them started.
2) Newspaper Activities: Our community gets a free advertiser every weekend.  The paper can be used in so many ways.  A letter sort, sound sort, picture sorts, spelling activities can all be used with the newspaper, and this is just a few ways to put the paper to use.   At this station, they will be taking home scissors, and glue sticks to use at home with their weekend paper. 

3) Magnetic Letters: We all know how great these are!  Again, parents will be given a set of magnetic letters (again, using Dollar Tree/Walmart as our source) to use at home.  It will be explained that again, they can use it for letter sounds, practicing writing letters, spelling words.  In my house, when my kids were younger, this was what we did while fixing supper.  It was great to be able to have them in the kitchen using the fridge while we were cooking our meals.  They could also use a cookie sheet from the Dollar Tree for their word building.  They are magnetic!  WOOT WOOT!

4) Games: In a sheet protector, parents will be given a blank copy of a spinner game and a dice game.  I have models to show them how they can use it at home. Since this is a K-1 afternoon, activities needed to be tweaked for grade and ability.  Parents will receive the games, sheet protector, dice, paper clip for a spinner, and dry erase markers to create the games for their child. 

 The spinner games can be inserted into a pocket chart.  Students can spin and write (or read) letters, sounds, words, etc.  It's just another way to get them excited at home.  When I told my firsties that they would be having spinner games like centers going home with them, they were UBER excited!   Parents will be able to program them with a dry erase marker at home by writing over top the sheet protector.  (Our school colors are blue/white but I didn't know if we could print in color--hence the reason for both choices.)

 This blank copy above can be programmed to fit the needs of their child at home.  See the examples we will share at our literacy afternoon.

 This blank copy can be sent home.  See the example of a roll and read below that we will share during our Literacy Afternoon.

If you like these activities, you can click HERE for the Spinners and HERE for the Dice Games.

We will also be sharing a Roll, Say Keep!
Roll Say Keep!
This is also on Teachers Pay Teachers , but I don't tell my parents I blog, so I took my blog name off. 
If you want to head over there and leave feedback for a freebie, that would be SUPER DUPER! :)
*I also want to thank Bubbly Borders, KG Fonts, and Melonheadz for the graphics I used in all of our activities going home!!

5) Books: Students will be given a book.  Parents will be given before and after questions for pre-reading, and comprehension.  They will be taught a few reading strategies: Skip ahead, get your mouth ready, tap it out, etc.

All these great things will be stored in a cute little tote bag that was purchased by our Title Director from Oriental Trading.  I'm so excited, and nervous about this little afternoon.  I want it to be able to help our families.  Our students have many gaps, and I want this to be a home-school connection.  I want it to be a fun afternoon that will create a WANT for learning at home!  Wish us luck friends! :)


  1. You are amazing! I teach at a Title 1 school & understand how frustrating and sad it can be! Go girl GO! Here's to a successful afternoon! Wendy 1stgradefireworks

  2. Oh, I hope it goes well for you! We're planning a literacy night and it's so helpful to see ideas from other teachers about how they do it. I hope you have an AMAZING turnout!


  3. Sounds like a great idea! :) Good luck, and I hope you have so much participation that you don't know what to do with everyone! ;)

  4. You've come up with some great activities! I hope you have a fantastic turnout!!

  5. What a terrific idea! I would love to do something like this at my school, I'm just not sure I would have the resources to make any of the purchases. We are supposed to have a literacy night, but like you the last time we had one there wasn't much of a turn out. Thanks so much for sharing all of your ideas!!!
    I'm Not Your Grandpa, I'm Your Teacher

  6. Thanks for sharing all of your good ideas and freebies! I would love to do this at our school too and you've given me a head start on ideas. Thanks again.

  7. I love the roll and read dice games and was wondering if there was another link to them. when i click on it i go to something else. help? :-)

  8. I love your blog. I use your Reading Detective packs (Missions 1,2, and 3). Were you thinking about making Mission 4 for vowel pairs??


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