Sunday, February 24, 2013

Read Across America Celebrations


Today, I'm sharing with you how the school my children attend celebrate Read Across America Day.  It's also where I taught before becoming an instructional coach.  They celebrate all week long and it's quite a fun event.  Here's a bit about each of the three big events:

1.  Class reading goals.  Each class creates a collaborative reading goal.  Each student is given a tracking sheet to record the minutes they read throughout the week.  The goals are set to hopefully be a bit more reading than required, like a goal for each student to read 25 or 30 minutes instead of 20 minutes a night.  The recording sheets are turned in the Monday after the celebration week.  Then, those classes who met their goals are rewarded by the principal with a small treat, usually a Popsicle.

2.  Family Reading Night.  On Wednesday, families are invited to read in the halls throughout the school.  Popcorn is provided in small bags and people are encouraged to bring their pillows and blankets.  Staff members read aloud picture books in our small auditorium throughout the night for families to enjoy.  The PTA also runs the Scholastic Book Fair throughout this week and has it open special this night for families to add to their home libraries.  At only an hour long, this family night encourages families to read together, brings the community to the school and is an opportunity for fundraising.

3.  Read Across America Day.  Toward the end of the celebration week, the entire school participates in "Reading Across America" one morning.  Every employee chooses a state.  This includes the principal, secretaries, technicians and custodians.  Each chooses a state and prepares a lesson and activity to teach about the state.  Students are divided into heterogeneous groups consisting of students in grades K-6 all together.  The groups are small due to the number of adults helping out.  The groups rotate to 4 different states during the morning.  Teachers try to share either a fiction or non-fiction text with the students about the state or something that relates to the state and do an art project or game with the students.  It's a very fun morning that the students look forward to and enjoy.

If you can't celebrate as a school, try doing some of this on a smaller scale in your classroom.  It would be fun to have centers around the room about different states.  Include your own state too.  Parents who have lived in other states might be willing to come share what they know and their experiences with your class.  You can get all the official information about Read Across America Day at the NEA's site here. 

If you'd like to hold your own reading goal, you can get a tracking sheet that is ready to go on google drive here.

We'd all love to hear what your plans are for celebrating Read Across America Day.  Comment below or on our Facebook page to share your ideas.


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