Monday, June 25, 2012

Parent Workshop - Summer Reading Success

You know I love my co-workers and brag on them all the time. Well today's post is no different.

I knew I wanted to do my last parent workshop of the year on something parents could do with their student(s) during their summer. I was a huge reader as a child and I remember doing the Pizza Hut Book It! program and loving it- I dared myself to read every book at the library one summer. So summer reading seemed like the perfect workshop. I asked our amazing librarian, technology teacher, and FOCUS/Intervention teacher if they wouldn't mind teaming up to do the workshop, and less than a month later I had my most popular workshop yet.

What made this workshop so great? Let me show you.

Tips For A Successful Workshop:

1) Ask parents to RSVP. It gives it a sense of urgency and that space is 'limited.' Even if you don't have limited space the RSVP really excites parents. Last year the workshops where I requested an RSVP had double the attendance of those where I did not ask for an RSVP. We used Google Docs to make a sign up sheet and set a deadline. The link to our doc went out in the PTA newsletter, was put on our websites and the school's main website, and was sent to teacher's to pass along.

2) Feed Em'!  Each teacher set up a table with their favorite books and 'must read' books for the summer. As parents entered they could browse the tables and get coffee and breakfast goodies set up by our amazing PTA. We started the workshop as soon as school started, so after parents dropped off their student(s) they could come straight into the library and begin browsing.
 3) Keep them entertained!- Our parents spent the first few minutes eating, chatting, and browsing books. We quickly had them sit around the library for three presentations. Next year I am going to make this a two part workshop because our teacher's had so many amazing things to share. This will also allow me to offer two dates and times. From writing down book titles and to sharing sites on the SmartBoard our parent's didn't have time to stop.

 4) Give them something to take home- don't let anyone leave with empty hands. On our signup sheet we asked parents to list the names of their children and then the team made custom reading log packs.

Using colored card stock, paint chip strips, and ribbon my amazing co-workers put together these great reading packets. Our librarian found a  free template online to make the pocket sleeves so all we needed was colored card stock to make the packet holders.

Pink, yellow, and purple for the girls.
Blue, green, and yellow packets for the boys.
Each pack included a bookmark, reading log list, place for students and parents to write down favorite titles and a 'wish list' of books, and some yummy book worms.

4) Provide a way for them to get the information later- websites, blog, printed copies, make sure they have easy access to the information.  After the parents had an opportunity to eat, drink, and catch up each teacher gave a presentation about summer reading programs.  Mrs. Bunyi discussed summer writing through blogging. What a great way to incorporate social media into our lessons! Read more about her presentation on her Scholastic Blog and visit her website.

 I put copies of the handouts distributed in the parent library so parents that were unable to attend could easy pick them up later.

 Mrs. Svarda, librarian extraordinaire, discussed local book programs offered, such as the Barnes and Noble reading programs, and how to pick a good book. More information is available on her website.

 Our tech-savvy, crafty, incredible Elizabeth Shepherd shared with parents fun crafts and games they could play with their kiddos in the summer that would encourage reading. See her favorites on her Pinterest page.
Summer reading gameFree tokens at Chuck E. Cheese! reading tent

So there you have it! It was an incredibly successful workshop and I can't wait to do it again. What workshops have been your most successful? What tips do you have for increasing parent participation?

1 comment:

  1. Great post Filtness! You get an A++ for the day from your friendly neighborhood techie. :)