Last year, Lincoln Elementary PTA was one of 85 recipients who received a set of 10 Kindles and agreed to hold a Family Reading Experience, Powered by Kindle event at their local school. Lincoln Elementary is a K-8 school with 367 students. Seventy three percent of the students are minority students, and 93% of the students receive free and reduced priced lunch. I had the pleasure of interviewing Stacy J. Ponder, a parent who was instrumental in the planning and implementation of their Family Reading Experience last week.
Hi Stacy, thanks for taking the time to talk to me about your Family Reading Experience, Powered by Kindle! I understand you had a fantastic time. How many families were able to participate?
We had about 50 to 60 families that joined us. Most of the parents were fathers or grandfathers. Our event had already been postponed twice, so people were excited that we could finally hold it!
That sounds like a great turnout! How did you get so many families to participate?
We had lots of incentives. We had children’s dictionaries, donated by Scholastic. Every family who participated got a dictionary along with the take home game boards that are part of the Experience. We served pizza at our Experience, everyone loves pizza! We also had giveaways at every station. Every table had stickers or pencils so that everyone who visited got something. We also gave everyone who attended a small drawstring backpack. That was useful for them to carry all of the giveaways home! We even had a couple of large baskets with household items we were able to give away as door prizes.
How did the families learn about the event?
We’d had to postpone the event two times already and had done some promotion before those were postponed. We use our schools phone system called Connect Ed and we sent home the Family Reading Experience Flyers we downloaded from the National PTA website. We also used personal invitations when we saw people in the halls or picking up kids.
That’s terrific! We’ve also seen that there has to be a lot of different communication channels to reach families and that the personal invitations often have a great response. What did families feel was the best part of the experience?
The best part was the interaction that families had. Also, they loved learning new things! I’d also have to say that the technology station was the most popular one. Everyone was excited to try using the Kindles!
I know, the use of technology in education is very exciting! What’s next for Lincoln Elementary PTA?
Well, this Experience was for families with children in Kindergarten through second grade. Our next Experience is for families with children in grades 3-5. We’re having that Experience on April 24th and are hoping for another great turnout!
Wonderful! I wish you the best of luck with all your future PTA events, especially the Family Reading Experience, Powered by Kindle!
The PTA Family Reading Experience, Powered by Kindle includes a set of free activities and tools in English and Spanish to organize events that engage the entire family in improving reading skills for students between kindergarten and fifth grade. If you would like more information about the Family Reading Experience, or to download all of the free materials, log on to pta.org/familyreading.
ENGAGE! is a weekly column on Family Engagement written by Sherri Wilson, Senior Manager of Family and Community Engagement at the National PTA. Sherri is the former Director of the Alabama Parent Information and Resource Center and is currently responsible for developing and implementing programs related to family and community engagement at the National PTA.