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Parents and Children Together for Literacy Night

posted Dec 5, 2013, 5:50 AM by Fran Prentice

On November 21st, approximately 250 parents and K-4 students attended the second portion of Family Literacy Night at Wells Elementary School (WES).

According to Literacy Specialist Nancy Colley, the first half of this event occurred in September when parents were invited to school to watch a video about children and adult interaction while reading a book together.   “The point was to model the value of ‘talk’ while reading together in an effort to help children build their vocabularies,” wrote Colley in an email.

In addition, K-4 students worked on decorating a book basket for home, picked out a new book to read and/or completed a response about a favorite book of theirs.

According to Colley, the intent of the second evening on the 21st was “to provide literacy information for parents to support their learners at home and to provide interactive activities that encourage literacy.”

The second night featured local children’s author Matt Tavares who did an “interactive read aloud” with groups of young listeners.   Tavares read a couple of his books in the school library including, “There Goes Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived” and “Zachary’s Ball”.

In the computer lab, parents learned about two resourceful reading websites, Scholastic.com and Lexile.com.  They received information on how to locate books that their child could read themselves and how to find more difficult books that are ideal “read alouds”.   

Parents, students and WES staff could also be found in the gymnasium.  In one half of the gym, students shared a book they each brought with them to read with family members while sitting on a quilt on the floor.   Before they left this area, students picked out a book to take home with them.  In the other half of the gym, parents and children explored literacy applications (apps) on school iPads.   They also received a list of additional apps to consider exploring on their own.

“Thanks to the research and planning of Literacy Specialists, Nancy Colley and Bonnie Esty, and First Grade Teacher, Jennifer Abbott, WES has found the right formula for drawing families to school for an early evening event where they enjoy a meal together, read with one another, and explore engaging iPad apps intended to both entertain and educate,” commented WES Principal Marianne Horne in an email about the latest Literacy Night at WES.

“In addition,” Horne added, “parents have the opportunity to discover new ways to support their child's love for reading while the children are focused on age-appropriate literacy activities with teachers and community members.  Both Family Literacy events…supported the partnership of parents and teachers in educating children.  The evenings were so successful, we plan to use the same model for a Family Math and Science Night later this school year. These events couldn't happen without the support of many dedicated WES staff members who generously volunteer their time and talents to make a difference for children and their families.”

Colley, who thought the evening went well, wishes to thank Matt Tavares and “the many WES staff members who have donated their time and efforts to make these two events happen.”  Colley also acknowledged Erin Stearns, who along with REMAX, provided food and drink for the evening.  Colley wishes to also thank Hannaford, Shields Meats and Produce, McDonalds and Wells Urgent Care for the donation of food and drink for the first portion of Literacy Night in September.

Caption:   Local children’s author Matt Tavares reading one of his books ‘There Goes Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived’ to an attentive and interactive group of WES students.                                             
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