ABC’s for the Best Parent Literacy Night

ABC's for the Best Literacy Night Cathy Collier

Parent Literacy Night was an annual event at our school. As the reading specialist, I was tasked with planning this event.

I always wanted it to be easy for the teachers, easy on the parents, and a welcoming event!

I have this thing about inviting parents to school to tell them what they don’t know. We have a tendency to tell them all the things they SHOULD be doing at home or all the skills the students SHOULD know and I think that’s a terrible idea.

We need to invited them to be partners. We need to invite them to include them. That’s the goal of my ABC’s.

LITERACY NIGHT: Building a Foundation

Using an ABC theme, you can walk parents through how they can help their child at home and how valuable they are to the process.

A – Aloud – Let’s talk about reading aloud. Let’s make sure we’re reading to and with our students, regardless of their level. They need to hear you read with your natural reading voice and accents. They need to know reading aloud is fun.

B – Books, book bags, book fairs, and bookmarks.

C – Consonants, Characters, Cause and Effect.

ABC's for the Best Literacy Night Cathy Collier

D – Developmental Writing – Children are first asked to write what they hear. Match letter to sound in the easiest way. They might spell “crocodile” as “crakdyl (cra-k-dyl). They might spell “turtle” as “trtl.”

It’s really all they hear. It’s a great place to start. As they are taught patterns and phonemes, they will add those to their independent writing. Encourage writing.

E – Encourage, excitement, and Energy!

F – Fingers…let them put their fingers in the text. Putting their fingers in the book can help them keep their place, breakup unknown words, and ensure understanding.

G – Games, graphic organizers, and graphemes.

H – Help or Hint. When students get stuck on a word, make sure to ask them “Do you want help or a hint?” They don’t always want you to tell them the words, and even if they do, you shouldn’t always take the work away from them.

I – Independence, implicit instruction, and informal assessments.

J – Joyful, join in, and JUST HAVE FUN!

K – Use what they KNOW. Make sure you use what they know, like the word “book”

Use the word and word parts to create new words: look, cook, hook, not, took, brook, crook, shook, booker, notebook, bookshop, rebook, booking…you get it.

Make it a game…Who can make the most? Who can make the longest word? (Don’t forget, this can be oral first, then move to written.)

L – Library books, letters, and listening comprehension.

M – Modeling, main idea and multi-syllabic words.

ABC's for the Best Literacy Night Cathy Collier

N – Nightly, narrative writing, and NEW TO YOU words.

O – Over and over, onset and rime, and oral language.

P – Phonics, play, and progress monitoring.

ABC's for the Best Literacy Night Cathy Collier

Q – Questions!

Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?

Teach them to ask questions and teach them ask questions BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER reading texts.

R – Retelling, rhyming, and “regular” words.

S – Sing, syllables, and sight words.

T – Think alouds, text structures, and decodable text.

U – Uppercase/Lowercase, understanding comprehension and dialog.

V – Vocabulary. Make sure you help them expand their vocabulary daily.

Don’t tell them “easy” words or replace “real” words…just tell them the words. They’ll get it. Vocabulary can be one of the greatest barriers to reading.

W – What Happens Next, word families, and word patterns.

X – eXperiences, eXtra fun, and eXtra meaningful.

ABC's for the Best Literacy Night Cathy Collier

Y – YOU! Make sure you let the parents know they are an important part of their child’s education.

Z – ZOOM…you will be amazed they are zooming along and learning more and more every day.


If you’d like a ready-made Parent Literacy Night product, I have the plan for you! This set has two projectable PDFs for the Parent Night, a 1-page Parent Handout, PDF versions of the Parent Handout with 3- or 6-slides on a page. This set has 75 pages and they are ready-to-print. Each slide as an explanation and talking points.

ABC's for the Best Literacy Night Cathy Collier

By organizing a well-thought-out Parent Literacy Night, teachers can create a bridge between the classroom and home. Let’s work together to empower parents as partners in the literacy journey, fostering a love for reading and writing that will positively impact our young learners for years to come.

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Cathy Collier

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