Read, Write, Count Launch Party at Carnegie Primary School

At the end of last session, the wonderful people at Scottish Book Trust asked me if we would like to hold an early gifting party to celebrate the release of the new Read, Write, Count bags for P2 and P3 children. Our children would have the privilege of being the first to receive their bags!

The opportunity

The ethos of Read, Write, Count is all about encouraging families to read, write and count together every day to support learning and development. Raising awareness of the campaign felt like it fitted very naturally with our school improvement plan for the 2016-17 session which included a focus on increased provision for Family Learning.

The aim

Family learning is a key quality indicator in How Good Is Our School 4, the document emphasises the importance of using creative approaches to engage families and I felt that the Read, Write, Count campaign could provide a fantastic hook for the development of such approaches.

We wanted to ensure that the Read, Write, Count bags were the start of an ongoing conversation rather than a one off gift.

The idea of holding a gifting party to celebrate distribution of the bags was, in the first instance, simply to ensure that the provision of these lovely, rich, resources did not go unnoticed by parents, carers, teachers and children. It is so easy, in the tidal wave of letters, information, PE kits, requests for junk modelling materials etc etc, for an additional thing in the school bag at the end of the week to end up forgotten on a child’s bedroom floor. We wanted to ensure that the bags were the start of an ongoing conversation rather than a one off gift.

So we started to think about how we could most effectively capitalise on this opportunity. 

The party

We planned the party so that it was not just an event at which the children received their bags. It had a real sense of occasion with significant build-up. Our party was at the beginning of September – three weeks into the new term and was ‘trailed’ from the first day back at school. All P2 and P3 parents were invited to the event (in our case this is a large number of people – we have three P2 classes, a P2/3 composite and three P3 classes!).

We used each of the picture books from the bags as a Book of the Week and each class chose a book or an element of the bag and created an interactive exhibit in their class based around it.

We consulted the children as to what they would like to say / make / write / do for the party and this provided both the plan for each class exhibit and also for the party itself. The children were all VERY clear that a party wasn’t a party without cake so we bought and iced 250 cupcakes for the event with specially ordered Read, Write, Count edible rice paper toppers!

We had parents queuing from the door of our gym hall, out through the car park and out on to the street!

The level of excitement among the children for those first 3 weeks of term, leading up to the party, made it a not-to-be missed event and on the day we had parents queuing from the door of our gym hall, out through the car park and out on to the street. The attendance was amazing and the children were thrilled that so many parents came along to see them and share in their learning.

Family learning started immediately. The children took parents, carers, grandparents and siblings to their classes and showed them all the work they had done, told them all about what they would be getting in their bags and all the things they could do with the materials once they had them. The content of those bags had gained a sort of ‘celebrity’ status, the children could not wait to get access to them!

At the end of the party we all gathered back in the hall and tore open the giant gift-wrapped boxes that contained the bags.

The children were delighted and many spent their ‘choosing time’ in the afternoon that day poring over the contents of their new special bag.

Watch some of the action from the Read, Write, Count party at Carnegie Primary School!

 

The Read, Write, Count gifting party was only the beginning of Carnegie Primary’s plans to encourage pupils and their families to read, write and count together. Find out more about family learning sessions and Read, Write, Count activities taking place throughout the school year here.

 

Take a look at more pictures from the party in the gallery below!

Susannah Jeffries

Susannah Jeffries teaches Primary 2 at Carnegie Primary School in Fife. For more brilliant classroom ideas and teaching inspiration follow Susannah on twitter @MrsJTeaches