Bilingual Family Events:
Teaching parents about reading?
Show them this funny video.
(Ideal for Spanish-speakers!)
“Thank you again for making reading fun, exciting and special to so many children and helping teachers and parents pass along your enthusiasm and ideas.”
–Sandy Lattemore, Library Assistant, Richvale Elementary School, Richvale, CA
Family reading or literacy events at schools offer special rewards and challenges. The audience may range from unruly toddlers to grandparents who speak little English, but Matthew takes pride addressing such groups and underscoring the message that reading time is family time, and that reading at home (or being read to) has a profound effect on whether students succeed at school.
Drawing on his award-winning book for families, Give the Gift! 10 Fulfilling Ways to Raise a Lifetime Reader, Matthew combines drumming, slides, storytelling and practical tips on how and why parents should encourage reading at home. Best yet, Matthew presents this talk is English, Spanish, or both at the same time. Typically, schools schedule the evening event on the same day as Matthew’s dynamic daytime assemblies. This prompts students to go home excited and bring back their parents and siblings that night. The evening presentation is different from the daytime assemblies but equally fun and interactive. Since every school is unique, Matthew adjusts his content depending on the audience’s cultural background. He is equally adept at engaging all kinds of parents, from highly educated professionals to those still new to literacy.
Often schools use Title I funds to sponsor these events as “parent outreach.” When budgets permit, Matthew can also provide schools with books and/or literacy booklets in English and Spanish. His publishing company, Tortuga Press, makes these items available for as little as $1-3 apiece when schools buy them in bulk. This allows the school to distribute books for “free” which, depending on the community, can be a great incentive for families to attend. Serving a simple dinner such as pizza or dessert can also significantly boost the attendance. For more ideas on making your Family Night a success, please see Matthew’s article, Boosting Attendance to Family Literacy Nights at School.