Mona Voelkel

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Designing a Family Reading Night Event
One of the most enjoyable experiences for an author is sharing their book with families at an in-person event. Consider a Family Reading Night! Here is a video of a recent Family Reading Night highlighting my book, STANLEY AND THE WILD WORDS, illustrated by Nancy Kincade.

A Family Reading Night is an event where families celebrate the joy of reading and writing.

Here are some suggestions for organizing a Family Reading Night:

  1. Authors should contact librarians through a personalized letter or email and ask if they are interested in hosting a Family Reading Night event. You can share your fee for the event or request a certain number of book copies be purchased in advance, etc.

2.   If your services as an author for an upcoming Family Reading Night is requested, share copies of your book with the librarian and, if available, the Family Reading Night team. Let them know that you can personalize your presentation to align with their current educational goals. For example, the Kensico School Family Reading Night team was interested in a presentation on “author and illustrator collaboration.”

  3.  Decide on a schedule. Family Reading Nights are generally 90 minutes. Here is
a sample schedule:

Introduction: 5 minutes
Interactive Presentation: 20 minutes
Family Reader or Writing Workshop/Activity: Families complete an activity together: 20 minutes
Refreshments: 15 minutes
Game, Storytelling or Sharing: 20 minutes
Question and Answer Session: 10 minutes
Evening ends with each family receiving a copy of your book and filling out a survey/feedback form.

  4.  Divide and Conquer! As the author, you will create the presentation but who will
be responsible for the tech? Decide who will create a flyer to send home and who is responsible for advertising on social media. Will you provide the books or will the librarian order them? Who will set up the materials for the family activity? Who will bring the refreshments?

 5.  If you want to be able to use photographs, videos, or student work from the event, you must, with the permission of the school, have a release signed by the parents/caregivers.

 6.  Once responsibilities are clear. Prepare for the event! Then, enjoy your Family Reading Night event.

Here are some photos from a recent Family Reading Night. (Photo Credit: Valhalla Union Free School District. Flyer Credit: Bill Wright). Contact me if you would like more information about hosting a Family Reading Night!

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