Tips for Title I Night

Hello Literacy Land readers!  This is Wendy from Read With Me ABC.  For many of you October is the month for pumpkins, scarecrows, and trick-or-treating.  However, if you're a reading specialist, you may be thinking more about hosting your annual Title I Reading Night.

Today's post was written to offer you a few ideas for hosting a successful Title I night.

Pick the (Perfect) Night

Plan your event to coincide with another school event.  Many successful Title I nights are scheduled to occur right before another school event. This helps to ensure that the event is well attended.  For example, if the PTO is hosting Bingo in the gym at 7:00, then schedule your event for 6:00 or 6:30 in the library on the same night.  More parents are likely to attend if they are already planning to come to school that evening.

Promote it!

  • Ask for your event to be published on the school calendar.
  • Post the event in your school's monthly newsletter.
  • Send out "save the date" cards well in advance.
  • Be sure to include an RSVP on the actual invitation. This is helpful for two reasons: it asks parents to make a commitment, and it gives you a headcount for planning.
  • Send home a reminder on the day of the event.  Consider printing reminders on sheets of adhesive labels.  Affixing the labels to students' shirts is quick and effective.
  • If your school has the capability, send an automated telephone alert.

Provide Babysitting or Invite Students

Parents may have difficulty finding or paying for a baby sitter.  Many schools offer complimentary babysitting during the event.

Another option is to invite the whole family and make the evening a family literacy night.

Provide Dinner

Who doesn't like having dinner prepared for them?  By removing the stress of planning dinner, parents are more likely to attend.  Keep it simple.  Offer pizza and a beverage.

Choose a Fun Theme

Make your event sound too fun to resist.  ;)  Some ideas include a Literacy Luau, a Book Swap, and a Night of Family Literacy (NFL football theme).

Keep It Short 

Make sure your presentation is meaningful, relevant, and succinct.  This is especially important if children are invited.  Consider adding hands-on stations where more information can be provided.  At our most recent literacy night, we held a short presentation followed by three stations that parents and children could visit: make-and-take, literacy games (Boggle, Bananagrams, etc.), and technology (laptops and iPads).

Plan a Make-and-Take Station

Parents will appreciate bringing home activities that they can use with their children.  Students will enjoy the chance to be creative.  Some items you may wish to include: a ring with comprehension questions on it, sight word or vocabulary games, a non-fiction question cube, and a fluency jar.

Involve Parents

Ask a few parents to help with the night.  For example, you might consider asking them to oversee a Make-and-Take station.

Include Classroom Teachers

Ask classroom teachers for ideas for the Make-and-Take portion of the night.  There may be specific items they would like parents/students to have at home.  Invite teachers to attend and help with a station.

Offer Attendance Incentives  

Offer free tickets to an upcoming school event.  For example, give tickets for a free game at Fall Fair or a certificate for a free book at the Book Fair.

Purchase door prizes and hold a raffle for those in attendance.

Give favors for every Title I student present.  At my school each student who attended this year's event received a book basket, a clip-on book light, and the choice of a new book.

Best of luck with planning your literacy night.  I hope it's an overwhelming success!

Do you have a really great idea for hosting a Title I Night?  We'd love to hear from you!  Please share  your thoughts in the comments below.


  1. I have done most, if not all of these things, over the course of a couple decades as a Title I teacher. Sometimes, I feel it is a shame that we have to seduce parents, with food, prizes, raffles, gift bags, etc., to attend an event that is of direct benefit to them and their children. What happened to the value system of attending for the benefit of the child.............THAT is the reward and the 'gift'.........................we, as a society, have gotten so far removed from this. EVERYTHING needs to be rewarded whereas is used to be an expectation (classroom behaviors included, although this post is not about that).

    1. I totally agree with you. Parents should want to attend because they see the value of the program and the benefits for their child. While many parents may attend for this reason alone, others need a nudge in that direction. Whatever motivates parents, I am thrilled when they attend.

  2. Wendy-We just did our NFL night. I took a ton of pictures, and I'm getting ready to post about it. Will let you know when it's up.

    1. Oh, great! I can't wait to see the pictures and read all about it!