How can your organization participate in READ IN Week this year? You may choose to have events only during READ IN Week or use the week to launch year-long initiatives. Creating a physical or virtual space for reading to take place is a great way to ensure that it happens frequently!
Although most schools and organizations are being cautious about inviting guests physically into their space, there may still be opportunities for a few in-person events! Here are some tried and true tips from years past:
Set Décor: Set aside a special area for your events. Whether this is in a classroom or a
library, you can jazz it up by involving students to create and decorate the space. Hang up printouts of your favourite book covers or print out the READ IN Week poster. Designate a chair for your guest reader to use, making sure it’s at a safe distance from the audience, and prepare comfortable seating for the audience.
Welcome Visitors: Your guest reader may come prepared with their own book, but it’s always a good idea to have a few books for them to choose from just in case! Set aside some time at the start of the storytime for your guest reader to introduce themselves and talk about what they do. You can also have students prepare a couple of questions for the guest reader such as “Do you have a favourite book?” or “How do you use reading in your day-to-day work?”
Wrap Up: Thank your visitors by preparing bookmarks or another small token to give them at the end of their visit. Celebrate the success of your READ IN experiences by talking about the week in an assembly, in newsletters and in conversation with families.
Whether you’re using Zoom, Google Classroom or another piece of software, you can still have a great READ IN Week experience!
Set Expectations: If you have distance learning students who are also joining virtually, set expectations about online behaviour at the start of the event. Remind students that if they’d like to speak, they need to raise their hand, either physically or by using the hand-raise feature of your virtual meeting if available.
Get Involved: Guest readers love seeing faces! Be sure to turn on your video and unmute your audio so they can see and hear the reactions.
Welcome Visitors: Similar to an in-person event, let your guest reader introduce themselves and talk about what they do for a living. You can have students come prepared with questions for the guest such as “What is your favourite book?” and “How do you use reading in your day-to-day work?” Be sure to thank your guest reader at the end and unmute students joining virtually so they can say thank you as well.
Technical Issues: If you run into technical problems, don’t panic! If the guest reader is disconnected, send them a quick email to see if they’re trying to get back online. They may not be able to, in which case it’s always a good idea to have a book of your own that you’re prepared to read.
Consent: If you plan to take a screenshot of your virtual event and post it online, make sure you have permission from the students’ families or are otherwise covered by a photography waiver. It’s also a good idea to check in with your guest reader to make sure they’re comfortable too.