Each year schools, libraries and communities across the United States participate in Read Across America Day.
This is an NEA (National Education Association) event to celebrate reading and to honor the late Theodor Seuss Geisel, also known as- DR. SEUSS! March 2nd is reserved for this celebration in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday.
I especially love this time of year because it allows us to get parents involved and many of them love to participate as guest readers. I have created this form to help solicit and organize my volunteers.
As teachers, we know that many papers do not ever make it out of the book bag! I have a few tips to combat this!
Offer an Individual Incentive
Earn a raffle ticket, a new pencil, smelly sticker- whatever you do in your room! This usually gives me about a 90% return rate!
Talk to Them About It
Make time to review an important notice. When the students feel involved or knowledgeable about the forms going home, they are more likely to share with their parents and look for the notice to be returned.
Collect NO Responses Too
The form I have created also has a section where parents can simply say they are not able to participate. This allows for all parents to respond and I know they are aware of the activities planned and the opportunity given. Pointing this out to students helps them understand too!
A graph or checklist that’s displayed somewhere is always motivation and always students to self-check themselves. Motivating and developing self-discipline, 2 for 1!
Whole Class Reward
Set a goal stating that if the entire class returns the form there will be some sort of reward. Jolly ranchers for everyone! Or simply use your class reward system that you already have established.
This app is a teaching lifesaver! Their motto is, “School communication shouldn’t be so hard!” Parent contact at your fingertips allows you to message individual parents or the entire class with reminders and FYIs!
I will admit that I have tried many times to utilize Google Docs so that sign up is really self-explanatory- if the slot is open, SIGN UP! However, I personally, have had little success with this method, but I encourage YOU to try it with your group- every community is different!
Even after devoting a section of my Back-to-School Night presentation to using Docs, I still have many parents who do not feel comfortable enough with it to use it and/or do not have access to a laptop or desktop where it is easiest to navigate. The feedback has been that the hassle of using it from their phone or downloading the app is a deterrent. Although personally it would simplify so many things immensely, the ol’ paper handouts are the only thing working for me!
How does your school, library, or community plan your Read Across America event? I would LVE to hear your ideas! Happy Reading!