Thursday, October 7, 2010

ESL Family Literacy Nights: Round 1

While I was at Butler University for a class on writing this summer, I decided to drop in on a graduate student's presentation on Family Literacy Nights. She totally sold me on the idea, and last night, several months (and tears) later, we held our very first one! Three Wednesdays this month, we will be hosting these classes for parents AND kids to come together, learn a new technique, and take home some tools AND books! We have classroom teachers leading the first two lessons to help make that connection between ESL and the mainstream classroom. Below is the outline for the month.

 Oct 6: Making Connections (Aynsley Small: 1st grade teacher)
    - send home magnets with the 3 types of connections and illustrations of them all
    - one culturally-relevant bilingual book per child
Oct 13: Asking Questions (Sarah Ashton: 5th grade teacher)
    - send home bookmarks with brief notes on when/how to ask questions
    - one bilingual English classic per child
Oct 27: Reading in a Foreign Language (Sarah Steele: ESL teacher)
    - send home something with elements of a story on it
    - one English-only book per child
    - give each family photo of them happily reading together

Here's what each night looks like within itself:
  1. Explain focus literacy skill and procedures.
  2. Have parents observe a teacher modeling that skill to their children.
  3. Split into family groups and practice the skill.
  4. Regroup to review the process and discuss any remaining questions.
  5. Pass out tool.
  6. Give one book per child to practice this skill at home (each of the 3 nights!).
  7. (The following week, we would start with a recap of the previous skill and what parents noticed as they practiced that skill with their children.)
Now that I've bored you to tears with all the gory details, how about some photos (almost 50 ppl last night!)?

One of our middle schoolers joined her family for this night!
Somehow, I think one of these kids is not an actual member of this family!

Aynsley Small and Imelda Salyer made a dynamic presentation team!
(P.S. Can you see the screen? Hurray for doc cams!)


Practicing making connections

Choosing free books--provided by
the Warsaw Education Foundation!

The magnets they got to take home


  1. Thanks to Sarah Ashton, Anna Boze, Jan Hanmaker, Val Keers, Jodi Rhoades, Imelda Salyer, and Aynsley Small for all their help in making the night a success!