Family Literacy Night 2022
Family Literacy Night – October 18, 2022
In his book entitled Tending the Heart of Virtue, Vigen Guroian writes about the value of sharing fairy tales with children: “The great fairy tales and children’s fantasy stories attractively depict character and virtue. In these stories the virtues glimmer as if in a looking glass, and wickedness and deception are unmasked of their pretensions to goodness and truth. The stories make us face the unvarnished truth about ourselves and compel us to consider what kind of people we want to be…Fairy tales lead us toward a belief in something that if it were not also so veiled in a mystery, common sense alone would affirm: if there is a story, there must surely also be a storyteller.”
The School of Education Literacy Center at Aquinas College hosted a Family Literacy Night on October 18, 2022, with the theme, “Folk Tales, Fairy Tales, and Fables.” Over 60 guests attended, with dozens of families represented from local Catholic schools and the community. Fifteen literacy stations (plus a music station!) were set up throughout Aquinas Center, led by 39 volunteers, including local Catholic school teachers, many of whom are Aquinas alumni, as well as current Aquinas teacher candidates. Catholic schools represented by leading a literacy station included St. Henry, St. Ann, St. Matthew, Christ the King, St. Edward, Overbrook and St. Cecilia. Metro Nashville Public Schools were also represented with a literacy station. Sister Cecilia Anne, President of Aquinas College, introduced the event, welcoming guests and participants, and recognized Sister Marie Hannah, Dean of the School of Education, who offered the opening prayer. Leaders of each literacy station described the activities available at their station. Highlights from the activities and their tales included The Three Little Pigs retelling bracelet, John Henry folk tale, The Three Bears read-aloud, The Three Little Pigs STEM challenge, Fairy Tale Readers Theater, The Wolf, The Duck and the Mouse sequencing activity, Jack and the Beanstalk make and take activity, The Hare and the Tortoise, The Fox and the Crane, Little Red Riding Hood comparing different versions, The Clown of God kinesthetic activities, Make your own fairy tale, The Lion and the Mouse, Cinderella, and The Princess and the Frog origami craft.
Family Literacy Night was an opportunity for local families to take a break from their busy schedules and simply enjoy stories together. The families had the opportunity to rotate around the stations and engage in the various picture books and activities. A special treasure of the evening was that each child got to bring home a book from the book table. Books that children took home included beloved titles such as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, You Are Special by Max Lucado, and The BFG by Roald Dahl. There were books available for parents to take home as well, to aid in reading to their children at home, such as You Read to Me and I’ll Read to You and The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. Parents were also able to take home resources such as tips for reading both nonfiction and fiction books with their children.
Those who attended the Family Literacy Night shared positive feedback from the evening. One parent said, “The kids are all super excited about their books and all the fun activities they got to do.” Lisa Rippy, teacher at St. Edward school shared that “The Literacy Night was a huge success! Lots of enthusiasm especially for The Three Little Pigs STEM project. I love seeing books come alive for the kids.” Two Aquinas teacher candidates preparing for elementary licensure spoke of their experience from leading one of the literacy stations:
“Sharing the children’s joy of finding delight and wonder in a book is a beautiful experience! Family Literacy Night provides so many of these opportunities, inspiring and encouraging future and veteran teachers to promote literacy in the classroom and in the family.” – Sr. Laura Immaculata
“As a teacher candidate, I was so inspired to see the dedication of teachers from around the area at Literacy Night, truly giving of themselves outside of school hours for a love of literacy! It was wonderful to see the children so excited and engaged by the literacy activities and happy to just sit down and enjoy listening to the fairy tales we all love!” – Sr. Hannah Rose
The mission of the Literacy Center at Aquinas College, led by Dr. Betsy Donlon, Assistant Professor, is to engage teacher candidates in literacy instruction best practices by offering programs such as Family Literacy Night and Literacy Tutoring and Assessment. Literacy Tutoring and Assessment will begin again in Spring 2023.