We had our first K-2 Family Reading Night, and it was a big success. We didn’t have a theme aside from come in your pj’s with your family to read books on a chilly December night! We did it from 6:30 to 8 on a Thursday so people had time to eat dinner and come over in pj’s. We were all cleaned up and out of there by 8:10.

Two weeks before: I asked the 3rd through 6th graders to donate gently used books for a book swap table. They filled three boxes for us! I lined up three adult readers (the principal and two teachers) and three 5th grade girls who read in pairs. They chose their own books to read, so there was a lot of variety.

We set up the Elmo projector in the gym and borrowed a rocking chair from a kindergarten teacher. We used a lapel mic to help project. I had a spare copy of each book from the library and projected the pictures while the reader read. After the readers, kids were encouraged to visit the book swap table and swap a book that they had brought. (If they didn’t bring a book, we had enough so that each child could take one home.)

We had simple snacks (cookies, brownies, pretzels, lemonade) in the cafeteria, along with an easy bookmark craft laid out on the tables. Fortunately, I brought a Scholastic video collection of books that I put on for the families that showed up 30 minutes early and we were still setting up. We estimated that at least 150 people came, and we are just thrilled. Thanks so much to PTO Today for your kit and advice!

More: To plan a Family Reading Night, download our free kit.

Rachel Mattison, Snowhill Elementary, Springfield, Ohio