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Readers' Night Out
Developed by the Fifth Grade teachers at Lawrence Elementary, Wichita KS.

Lure students to school after hours to read. A science fiction plot? Hardly. Lawrence Elementary fifth

grade teachers did it by publicizing the event effectively, building excitement within their classes and having a clever theme. Here's how they did it:

Good planning yielded a theme the students could really get into: A Cold Winter's Night. Students were invited to bring a stuffed animal to snuggle up with. Teachers found a clever cut-paper snowflake project to use as a craft idea, and each planned cookies to make. Since this is a once-a-month event, they were able to talk about it in front of the class in addition to sending home flyers well ahead of time.

The schedule for the evening was for students to read silently together for about 20 minutes, then one teacher read aloud a short story on the night's theme. Finally, the snowflakes were made and cookies and hot cocoa were served. The event lasted from 6:30 to 7:30.

Lawrence teachers gauge the effectiveness by how the numbers have gone up for each subsequent "Night Out". Out of a total of 67 students in three classes, in October there were 14 attending, Novemeber had 18, December had 20, and in January the numbers jumped to 33.

One fifth grade teacher, Lajean Shiney, says "we want students to read, read, read. This apparently is working because the students find it fun and tell their friends who didn't attend. The numbers keep growing and we're excited."