Looking for some super FUN activities for literacy night at your school? How about a GLOW theme?! As part of my role of literacy coach this year, I organized and planned a family literacy night with the theme: “Let’s GLOW Read a Book!” The result was a highly engaging and fun evening for students, teachers, and parents alike! In this blog post, I’ll walk you through how we organized everything, materials we used, and activities for literacy night that led to a successful turnout for our school!
(This blog post includes some Amazon Affiliate links for your convenience, so that you can find and reference the materials and supplies I refer to easily and quickly. This just means that my blog receives a tiny compensation if you click on these links- at absolutely no extra charge to you.)
Let’s GLOW Read a Book!
Our school is a K-5 building. We arranged several activities for literacy night that all grades and students could participate in. We also arranged for separate grade level activities. When families arrived at the front door, they were greeted with a goodie bag that contained glow sticks and a finger light flashlight. They were also handed a flier that listed the evening’s activities, events, and classroom locations.
Three rooms and areas were dedicated to events that students of any grade could attend. Then, we split up the building by grade level bands: K/1 (kindergarten and first grade), 2/3 (second and third grade), and 4/5 (fourth and fifth grade). Each grade level band had a specific Activity Room and Glow Room that they could stop in and explore throughout the night. Let’s take a look at each room/area and what activities for literacy night that we offered the students! Grab some black lights and lots of neon colors, and let’s go!
Read to Me! Glow Room
The art room became our Read to Me GLOW Room! To set the stage, we covered each art room table with glow in the dark neon cardstock. The paper looked amazing once the blacklight strips were turned on! For this room, we got out high school football team involved! The football players positioned themselves around the room at the various tables. I placed a few read-aloud titles at each of the tables. Families were offered a trail mix snack cup before entering the Read to Me glow room. The trail mix included marshmallows that lit up with the neon cups!
After getting their snack cup, the students (and their families) found an empty seat next to a football player. The high school football player read a book aloud to the student as the student enjoyed their snack. After the read aloud, the kids got to choose one book off of the book table in the back of the room. They were allowed to keep this book and take it home! (We got books from Scholastic Books in a variety of grade levels and titles.) The football players even autographed their books, which the students thought was very cool!
Library Read-Aloud Shows
The library was another area that had activities for literacy night that students of all grade levels could attend. Outside of the library, we placed a sign that had “show times” for various read alouds that were happening throughout the evening. Our event ran from 5:00-6:30pm. Read aloud times happened every 15 minutes throughout the night. Families and students could enter the library and sit down for a read-aloud “show”. We had various authors and local reading celebrities who read to us throughout the night!
Our first reader was a local author named Carol Wulff. Carol is the author of the book, William, The What-If Wonder On His First Day of School. Carol also wrote the book, William, The What-If Wonder and His Sleepover Worries. She was absolutely fabulous with our students! Carol read her book to the kids, and then talked about the process of planning and writing her books. The students also had an opportunity to ask her questions about being an author. It was an amazing experience for our students and families!
We also had the fabulous MoNique Waters read the book she wrote, I Can Achieve Anything. MoNique resides in Northeast, Ohio, so it was wonderful for the children to get to hear and meet this amazing local author! MoNique’s book promotes the powerful and motivating message that our children can achieve anything they put their minds to and work hard at. The repeat-after-me format is empowering, and the positive affirmations within the book were heartwarming to hear and witness! We are so thankful that MoNique shared her talents and heart with us during our literacy night!
In addition to the two authors above, we invited the librarian from our town’s public library to do some read-alouds, too! The students always love having her at our school events, and it was a great way to bridge that connection between the school and our community. It is safe to say that the library was a buzzing and popular place during literacy night!
Glow Track Activity
The final activity for literacy night that welcomed students and families from all grades took place in our gymnasium. Our incredible gym teacher turned the gym into a Glow Track that students could ride scooters on! We used the glow-in-the-dark tape to create a twisting and turning “race track” on the gym floor. We placed black light strips along the walls of the gym, and it looked amazing! 12 scooters were used in order to keep order in the gym, and limit any overcrowding. Students started at one door in the gym, and the track finished at another door. While this activity did not have any literacy connections, it was a fun way for students to burn off some energy and get out some wiggles throughout the night! The students’ little siblings had fun with this activity, too!
Rooms and Activities for Literacy Night
Now that we’ve explained the “all grades” activities for literacy night, let’s dive into the activity rooms and glow rooms for each of our grade level bands. Each classroom that was being used for literacy night had a sign set up outside of the door. This sign told the families what grade level the room was for and some of the activities that were taking place within the room. Each grade level band had an activity room that students could go to. The activity room did NOT have black lights in it. This room included make-and-take activities that students could take home and use as reading tools during nightly reading. (These activities will be explained in the sections to follow.) The glow room contained black lights, and had one or two literacy activities that took place within the glow room.
Kindergarten and first GLow Room
In our K/1 Glow Room, I created two hopscotch boards on the floor with glow-in-the-dark tape. Inside of each hopscotch square, I taped a consonant or a vowel. Look below at how amazing the boards looked when we turned off the lights and flipped on the blacklights:
The students hopped across the hopscotch boards and practiced saying the letter and sound for each square. The first graders also used the hopscotch boards to create cvc words by hopping from a consonant, to a vowel, to a consonant. The teachers that volunteered within this room encouraged and helped the students blend those sounds together to create a variety of words. It was SO much fun!
Next up, was our glow-in-the-dark rice tables! Earlier in the week, I prepped the rice by mixing it with neon glow paint in large zip-locked bags. On the day of literacy night, I arranged the rice into two sensory tables. Look how great they looked when we turned on the black lights!
The K/1 students had a great time practicing their letter formations within the rice tables. The kindergarten students also practiced writing their names in these tables.
Kindergarten and first grade activity room
The other room in our K/1 grade level band was the Activity Room. This room did not have blacklights. Instead, it contained some make-and-take reading tools that students could participate in. Teachers were available to help parents and students understand how to use these tools during nightly reading at home. A flier was also sent home that explained each tool and its use to the families. I have these fliers available for FREE for you at the end of this blog post.
Eyeball Reading Pointers- Students used popsicle sticks with a glow-in-the-dark googly eye to find letters, graphemes, and words while reading! This is a tool they can use to practice pointing to each word as they read at home. The teachers placed decodable books around the table at this station, and helped parents understand some of the different concepts that students could point to and find as they read at home. Students and families were able to practice using the tool before they left.
PA Pipe Cleaner Beads- At this station, the students placed neon pony beads onto black pipe cleaners. Teachers helped the students turn this reading tool into a bracelet. This reading tool can be used for phoneme segmentation, syllables, and for counting words within a sentence before writing it down. For phoneme segmentation, a pony bead is pushed across the pipe cleaner for each sound in the word. For example, in the word “cat”, a bead is pushed over as the child says the three phonemes, /c/, /a/, /t/. Once again, teachers were available to practice using the tool with the students and families, so that both parents and students can be successful with using the tool at home.
Bookmarks– The third station in the K/1 Activity Room was the bookmark table! For this station, students got to decorate a bookmark with glow-in-the-dark star stickers. They took these bookmarks home to use during nightly reading.
Second grade and third Glow Room
The 2/3 Glow Room contained scrambled sentence activities! Prior to the night’s events, I used the glow-in-the-dark tape to create four large rectangles on the classroom floor. I created word cards from neon cardstock. On each card, I wrote a word from the sentence that students would need to unscramble. The word was written using an Invisible Ink pen that glows when activated with UV lights. The invisible pens include a blacklight flashlight on one tip. Students worked with their families and friends to unscramble each of the four sentences that were placed throughout the classroom. They could use the flashlights to uncover and read each word on the cards while they worked. They had SO much fun with this activity! It also aligned nicely to the sentence level activities from The Writing Revolution, which we are working hard on within our building.
Second and Third Grade activity room
In the second and third grade activity room, piles of large neon scrabble letters were placed on the table. Before the night started, I laid out two words (shown above) on the floor. This helped the students get started with building words when they came into the room. Throughout the night, students and their families worked to add words to the scrabble board on the floor. Take a look below at what the 2/3 room looked like at one point in the night! They did an amazing job!
Other activities in the 2/3 Activity Room included making bookmarks and making the pipe cleaner bead tool that was explained previously in this blog post.
fourth grade and fifth grade glow room
In the 4/5 Glow Room, we created a glow-in-the-dark scavenger hunt for synonyms. When the students entered the room, they were handed a clipboard and a recording sheet. Around the room, cards were placed with synonyms for each of the words on their recording sheet. Like the 2/3 Glow Room, the words on the cards were written in invisible ink that showed up in the blacklights when the flashlights on the invisible pens were used. The students had to find the synonym that matched each word on their recording sheet using a highlighter. This was fun because the highlighters also glowed under the blacklights, making their recording sheet glow, too! The students had a lot of fun with this scavenger hunt!
The recording sheet is linked at the bottom of this post for FREE! You can use it as a classroom activity or during your school’s literacy night. The following words that are in BOLD were placed around the room. The other words are listed on the recording sheet:
bright – vibrant, glow- illuminate, peaceful- tranquil, strong- durable, smart- clever, kind- generous, brave- courageous, proud- satisfied, confident- assured, special- exceptional
literacy night shopping links
Interested in hosting your own “Let’s GLOW Read a Book” Literacy Night? Below are quick affiliate links from Amazon for all of the materials I mentioned above! I hope this helps get you find what you are looking for in a convenient and easy-to-access way:
Glow plan your family literacy night!
You can download the synonym scavenger hunt and two of the reading tool fliers we sent home with families (one for K/1 and one for 2/3) for FREE by joining my email list below! Don’t forget to use a personal email for your best results, and check your spam/junk box in case the freebie gets stuck there! This freebie also links to some other amazing mini classroom transformations, such as my Restaurant Retell Day, Book Bakery Day, and Compare and Contrast Construction Day! These would also make for really fun literacy nights or classroom literacy theme days!
Want to share these glow-themed activities for literacy night with a colleague or friend? Feel free to PIN the image below to your Pinterest boards! Thank you GLOW MUCH for reading all about our activities for literacy night success! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @missdecarbo for more tips, tricks, and teaching ideas!