Thursday, October 23, 2014

Little Readers, Big Books: Engaging Families through Pre-K Check-Out

During a faculty meeting we were discussing parent involvement and my mind started to wander like it always does during a faculty meeting.  How does this apply to me in the library?  How can I help?  Well, honestly sometimes it wanders far far away and has nothing to do with what we are talking about.

This time however I did come up with something!  How about inviting parents to come check out with their children?  Not only will this get them in the school but it will also let them see what a friendly library we have and all the resources we have to offer!

So I started small by asking pre-K teachers if they were interested in trying it this year.  Of course they were happy not to be forgotten and were thrilled.  Logistically it worked out perfect due to them dismissing at 2:00 and parents having to come in already to sign them out.

As we told the staff a few people asked if we could “hold” the parents for a quick meeting on another topic. My response was no with polite reasoning behind it.  If we want the parents to feel welcomed, especially our EL parents, we shouldn’t sit them down and show PowerPoints, use education jargon, or discuss behavior.  I truly wanted this to be a fun, nonthreatening experience for everyone.

Before the event the pre-k teachers sent the invite home as well as put the event on their class calendar with all of the dates listed.  We greeted them at pick up one day the week of for a reminder and personal invitation.

On the day of the event we had copies of a short and simple hand out in all three languages sharing ideas of how to read at home together.  We did not review it or read it to them.  I gathered the parents on our caterpillar reading rug with their children, instead of sitting down at tables, and I welcomed them and thanked them for coming.  We handed them their children’s library card and made a BIG deal about this being their first one!  I shared how I used to read to my stuffed animals at home and showed a few favorite books of mine.  In the end I said the BEST part of them being here was they could help pick out books they wanted to read too!  They shared favorites from their childhood and I was able to show them where they were in our library.  The smiles were huge and the turnout was amazing!  The whole event took 25 minutes from my day and was short and SWEET for our working parents to be able to attend.  


Guest Blogger-
J. Claybrooks
MNPS Teacher-Librarian

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