First TGS Family Reading Night deemed a success
TONICA — The popularity of Family Reading Nights at schools is continuing to grow as they bring families together through literacy and also help parents to see another side of their children’s school and community.
Tonica Grade School (TGS) held its inaugural Family Reading Night on Feb. 27, and by any measure, it was a success.
“This was a year in the planning and teacher-driven. An event like this is a great way to show the other side of what we do here. Many after-school events are for things like sports and music, so this is another way we can build bridges as we strive to build bonds with our community,” TGS Principal Chuck Schneider said.
The event featured a book exchange in the cafeteria that was hosted and organized by the TGS Parent Teacher Council.
“Students donated books, and for each one, they received an entry for a prize drawing,” PTC member Sarah Patyk said.
The gymnasium was turned into a simulated campground where families could “camp” near one of the many tents filled with a variety of books and family friendly activities. In the center of the gym was a “camp fire” where Schneider led an exercise in literary imagery.
While he read the prize-winning book “The Gruffalo,” students had to attempt to draw the creature that was gradually described throughout the story.
“It’s impressive to see how close they can get to how the creature is illustrated in the book,” Schneider said.
Other activities were located in classrooms, and families wandered from one station to the next.
“This is a great way to get families to come together and enjoy reading. It’s nice the parents can see what we do here and also be a part of it,” fifth-grade teacher Lauren Thomas said.
Parents who were interviewed said they enjoyed how it was bringing everybody together, both as families and as a school community.
Teachers and volunteers were on hand to encourage and help students choose books they’d enjoy and participate in the many featured activities.
Schneider said he expects next year’s turnout will be significantly higher after those attending the inaugural event talk with their friends, family and neighbors and generate excitement for it. TGS is also planning on adding to the scheduled activities and attractions.
“We’re going to be opening more ways like this to connect with the community, and we’re going to be hosting an upcoming Math Night for families,” Schneider said.
For more information, visit www.tonicagradeschool.org.