March is National Reading Month. Learn more about bringing a literacy-themed event, including PTA Family Reading Experience to your school.
Living overseas in Europe has many benefits like traveling, learning a foreign language, and experiencing a different culture. But, for Americans living in Germany, finding a good selection of English books is a rare treat. For some families, purchasing new books is not always in the budget.
When I applied for the National PTA Take Your Family to School Night grant, our PTA decided immediately that one of our events would be a reading night, because we’d already scheduled an international bookseller, Triskele Literary Services, to come to our school for a book fair during Take Your Family to School Week—perfect timing! What a great way to use the grant money, I considered, by giving students a night to celebrate the love of reading and get a free book to take home, too.
Our GES PTA Reading Night was a partnership of teachers, PTA parent volunteers, and community volunteers, including several soldiers from our school’s partner unit, the 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion. Volunteers were on-hand to read stories to students, to play word games (Mad Libs, crossword puzzles, and word finds), and to help the students make a fancy bookmark. Students were invited to come dressed as their favorite literary character. Not only did I see Laura Ingalls at the event, but The Cat in the Hat attended, as did Harry Potter and Little Red Riding Hood. A few weeks before the event, students were invited to make a poster publicizing their favorite book. They were invited to create a poster that would encourage their friends and classmates to read the book they loved best. Over 70 posters were submitted and were displayed during the event, and three lucky winners got to choose an additional book as their prize!
Grafenwoehr Elementary School Reading Specialist, Lisa Heinzmann, said: “The children had happy smiles on their faces as they left the event, clutching and holding dearly, a brand-new book (of their very own) to read over and over again! There is truly nothing like the gift of a book!”
GES PTA Reading Night was a huge success. We hope to be able to hold another reading night next school year! Our second TYFTSW event will be a bullying awareness and education event featuring a special performance of Eddie ‘N Friends, a play by Sadie Burger that will be presented by the Grafenwoehr Performing Arts Center. Following the performance, there will a chance for questions and discussion lead by community behavior health professionals.
Linda Scheuermann is the Health & Wellness Membership Chair at Grafenwoehr Elementary School PTA in Germany. On February 20, 2014, GES PTA hosted a PTA Reading Night as a Take Your Family to School Week grant recipient.