4 Tips & Ideas for Organizing a School Literacy Night

Teacher reading a book to children

Reading is a vital skill that everyone needs to learn to reach their full potential in life. It can open doors for children and adults that would have remained closed otherwise, bringing them immeasurable benefits throughout their lifetime. Teachers and administrators are always searching for new ways to introduce and promote reading, both in the school setting and at home. A great way to pique students’ interest in reading is to organize a School Literacy Night. During School Literacy Night, students are invited to return to school after hours with their parents for activities and games related to reading, along with some cool prizes! In this post, we’ll go over four awesome ways to make your School Literacy Night a blast!

Games & Activities

Include lots of games and activities for students and parents to enjoy together during School Literacy Night. Here’s a few examples, split into elementary and middle/high school levels:

Elementary School:

  • Guess the Word – Give students a word and have parents or other students ask them simple yes/no questions to try to figure it out (think Guess Who?, but with words)
  • Flashcards – For younger students, put a sight word on one side of the card and a picture on the other. Have parents show students the picture and have them guess the word. For older students, put the word on one side and its definition on the other.
  • Matching + Memory – Have students and parents match words to words, words to pictures, or words to definitions in this classic kids’ game
  • Bingo – Bingo is another classic that can be adapted as a reading game. Print Bingo cards with sight words, pictures, or definitions and have students find five in a row! Parents enjoy being the Bingo caller for this game.
  • Word Search – Word searches are easy to adapt to different grade levels. Add another level of difficulty by only giving the student the definition and having them find the correct word. Make it a competition by having students and parents compete for who can finish the word search first.
  • Silly Reading – Younger students love this one! Introduce a short passage and assign each student and parent a sentence. Have them read their sentences in their silliest voice.
  • Build a Sentence – stick word labels on building blocks and have students and parents build funny sentences.
  • Sight Word Fishing – Use sight word cards for this variation of the classic Go Fish! game.

Middle/High School:

    • Imposter – Make matching cards with a word on one card and its definition on another. Pass out the word/definition pairs to students and parents, along with a few cards labeled “Imposter”. Students and parents aren’t allowed to show their card to anyone, but must find the person who has the match to their card. Imposters are tasked with tricking people into believing they have their card’s match.
    • Bingo – Make Bingo a little harder for the older students. Use harder words, have students identify which part of a sentence a word is, find a rhyming word, or fill in the blank in a sentence.
  • Charades – This is another fun classic that gets students and parents up and moving!
  • Build a Story – Write random sections of different stories on index cards and mix them up on a table. Split students and parents into groups and time each group as they try to combine the sections into a story that makes sense. Get ready, because this one is usually hilarious!
  • Word Association – This is another game that’s sure to get some laughs. Split students and parents into groups and have them compete to see which group can complete the longest chain without a five second pause. Make sure to throw some crazy words in the mix to keep them on their toes!

Reading Competition Awards

About a month before the School Literacy Night is set to take place, introduce a school-wide reading competition. Split this by individual classrooms and have each teacher manage their student’s reading progress during the competition. Have students read to achieve milestones, such as “Read 5 Books”, “Read 100 Words”, “Read a Mystery Book”, and so on. At each milestone, and at the end of the competition, reward the student in each class who read the most words or achieved the most milestones with a choice of fun prizes. You could also add another reward for the student in each grade level that read the most as well. Present the student awards and prizes during School Literacy Night with their parents in attendance. Parents love seeing their kids win awards, and it’s a great way to encourage attendance.

Book Fair

Host a book fair the week of the School Literacy Night, and invite parents to attend to browse the selection of books, school supplies, novelty items, and more. Book fairs usually offer a selection for adults, and the parents will enjoy learning more about the types of books their kids really like. Plus, a book fair is a great way to bring in extra revenue for the school.

Book Readings

Have a guest speaker attend the School Literacy Night and do a special reading of a book they’ve written. You may want to invite multiple guest speakers to cater to different grade levels.

Make Your School Literacy Night a Success

Make your School Literacy Night a success by filling it with books, games, activities, competitions, awards, and prizes! Turn it into a night of fun and excitement to get both students and parents pumped about reading, a skill that will benefit them for a lifetime. With careful planning and some Pinterest inspiration, School Literacy Night will be something everyone looks forward to year after year.


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