Q: What’s a fun way to engage families in English Language Arts activities with their children?
A: Have a Literacy Lunch!
Every year, families look forward to Literacy Lunch at our school. It’s one of our best-attended events.
Our theme this year, “Come SWiRL with Me,” centered on the facets or domains of language: Speak, Write, Read, Listen (we added the “i” to the SWRL acronym to make a real word), as speaking, writing, reading, and listening comprise the ELA standards and language skills needed across all disciplines.
So, grade levels came up with activities that encompassed all elements of SWRL. Some included poetry, in recognition of National Poetry Month.
After the in-class activity, families went to the cafeteria:
The children seemed to enjoy writing on the paper tablecloths at lunchtime the most – at the end of each lunch, tablecloths were covered with messages and small sketches. One carefully crayoned note from a first grader: “I love you.” Underneath, the neat printing of a parent: “I love you, too.”
Upon exiting, parents gave feedback: They were in awe of the artwork, fascinated by the children’s ideas and their creative expression. One parent commented: “Public speaking is VERY IMPORTANT!” Another parent, after attending kindergarten’s renditions of reader’s theater, wrote: “I’ve seen so much improvement in my son’s writing and speaking.”
Perhaps most telling is this comment, one frequently echoed throughout our years of Literacy Lunches: “Thank you for this special time with my child.”
Speak, write, read, and listen well, for words are important.
So is time.
Reflect: What message do you need to communicate to someone today? Make time.