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Roll Out the Red Carpet for Literacy Night, Movie Style!

  It’s Saturday morning and I am absolutely beat. I’ve fitted my tush into the grooves in the couch and already zoned out to two episodes of Law and Order SVU (both equally traumatizing). 
I’m on cup of coffee number one, about half-coffee and half-cinnabon flavored creamer. The season is changing into the time of year where I will eat anything with a Halloween/turkey/Christmas wrapper, anything cinnamon, anything brown sugar, anything apple or pumpkin. 
I plan to spend the next three months being incredibly nostalgic.
Why am I so pooped? Last night was one of my favorite school events of the year. Every fall is our schoolwide Family Literacy Night. 
I LOVE Literacy Night. In the week leading up to it, I am a psychotic nutjob, creating, copying, cutting, stuffing, stacking, and shopping. 
The day of I compulsively organize and tape, set up, and assign. And the day after I want to crawl into a little hole and sleep for a month. 

This is what we did for our Literacy Night this year, which was movie themed. 

The day of Literacy Night, some of my awesome teachers helped me hang up butcher paper “curtains” and roll out a “red carpet” of butcher paper and black masking tape. We decorated the doorway to the gym and the doorway to the cafeteria; both of these locations were hosting events.

When kids arrived at the front doors with their parents, they received a bag with a bookmark with reading tips, their reading pledges, and a ticket with the time marked on it “movie showing” in the cafeteria. Each student received a free book, too! 

Every single person also received a ticket for a free bag of popcorn! Our lovely office ladies popped and bagged 400 bags of popcorn earlier in the day!

After they collected their popcorn, our guests could move through seven different and fun stations to practice important literacy skills in speaking, listening, reading, and writing!
Puppet Buddies

In our puppet buddies station, kids and parents listened to Curious George Goes to the Movies read aloud and created puppets of George and the man in the yellow hat to retell the story.
Actin’ It Up

I wrote a couple short Reader’s Theater scripts for two parts. One of them (for the big kids) was Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, and the other was a little story of a mother duck and her baby duckling. The kids and parents got to make a little headband with their character on the front, and then they read the play with the two parts.
Sight Word Pop

This one is a classic! Like the Bang Bag activity for sight words, families made a paper bag full of sight words and cards that said, “Pop!” They took turns drawing cards from the bag and reading the sight words. If they drew a card that said, “Pop!”, they had to put all their cards back.
Concession Stand Creations

This station was made into a contest. Students received a piece of white cardstock and used it to create a candy bar wrapper of their own creation. Then they wrote their name and grade on it and put it in a stack with other wrappers from their grade level. These posters are available in English and Spanish so you can host your own family night red carpet event!

The next day, we judged the entries, chose a first place winner from each grade, and gave them a fun popcorn tub full of snacks, a book, and a deck of cards for a family night!
Lights, Camera, Read!

This is the easiest station! Our stage had been decorated with stars and gold fringe for an awards celebration we’d had the week before, so we didn’t have to decorate! We just set up cozy furniture, rugs, and lamps, and let kids and parents choose books and read together!


At this station, teachers read aloud the story, Amelia Makes a Movie. Then the students used a cute storyboard format to “make” their own movie!

Movie Night
This was the biggest challenge to set up. 
The week before Literacy Night, I stuffed little zip plastic bags with food that has holes in it! Fruit Loops, pretzels, lifesavers, and a cookie with a hole in the middle. Each student received one bag and a length of yarn that the kids could make into a “Movie Snack Necklace.” How fun is that? 

My wonderful hunny, who does video and photo for events, helped me create a fun movie with previews to watch. I used book trailers I found on youtube and he created a cute screen before each one that said, “This book preview has been approved for all audiences. You can check these books out from your school library!” After three or four book trailers, we showed our “feature presentation”. It was this video of Strega Nona, read by Tomie DePaola.

These are some of the great book trailers I found on Youtube:

And these are some of the great books read aloud I found on Youtube:

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnGNNu7yCp0

We had almost 200 kids and 400 people attend our Literacy Night! We had a blast, and even though we were exhausted afterward, it’s worth it to get kids and families talking about reading!

Want to learn more? Check out my How to Plan an Awesome Family Night video!

Want to host a fun Red Carpet Literacy Night event yourself? You can get the materials to host a fun movie themed Literacy Night at your own school at TPT! And now it’s available in English and Spanish!



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