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Early Childhood Literacy: Family Literacy Nights

Plan a Family Literacy Night

Photo copyright Sean Dreilinger (source: Flickr)

Hosting a Family Literacy Night in your library or school's auditorium is a great way to get the whole family involved in reading for fun. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Promote your Family Literacy Night in advance.
    • Send a flyer home one month in advance, one week in advance, and the night before.
    • Tell classes about the program when they visit the library.
    • Make a short pitch over morning announcements a few days before.
    • Include a blurb about Family Literacy Night on your library and school website.
  • Consider providing incentives that will appeal to parents:
    • A book raffle or giveaway books for all attendees
    • Coffee and cookies
    • Storyhour or children's activities organized by volunteers
  • Plan to make a short presentation for parents. Remember to emphasize...
    • Reading is fun when you get to choose your own book. Help parents learn how to ask their kids questions about what they enjoy reading. Visit's "Help a Child Choose a Book" for more information.
    • Have copies of our reading lists on hand to give parents, and explain the different formats and genres that appeal to different types of readers.
    • Encourage reading a story together at bedtime. Bedtime stories provide a host of benefits, including:
      • improved logic skills
      • lower stress
      • improved verbal processing
      • increased vocabulary
      • better understanding of patterns and sequencing
      • parent-child bonding
      • for more information, visit's "The Brainy Benefits of Bedtime Stories."
    • For parents of older students, suggest that they read the same book as their child and discuss it together. (For instance, parent and child could each read Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, or Wonder, and check in with each other as they read.)
    • Promote the use of the local public library! See the information box with links to Brooklyn, Queens, and New York Public Library sites below with information that might be helpful to parents.
    • Raffle off books, or provide a giveaway book for every attendee.
    • Make sure parents understand that independent reading is not an assignment or a chore -- it's just for fun!
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