What if there was a way to keep kids reading even beyond the afternoon school bell? Imagine it: kids cozied up at home with their favorite book, enjoying the process of reading and growing their literacy skills. This dream can become a reality when parents and caregivers are actively involved. While teachers and librarians play an important role in helping students build healthy reading habits, parents and caregivers can continue to nurture a strong reading culture outside school hours, giving kids support from all sides. As the start of the school year approaches, consider the following ways to introduce parents and caregivers to Beanstack as a beneficial tool for extending classroom literacy efforts, and helping them support kids reading at home.
Creating Support In and Out of the Classroom
Research shows that strong partnerships between schools, families, and communities contribute to improved student achievement and higher academic performance. When engaged and working together, this trifecta can increase reading and writing skills in students no matter their background or income level; it places students on a level playing field, making learning equitable for all. Let Beanstack help you carry reading culture beyond the walls of the classroom.
Tactics for Introducing Parents and Caregivers to Beanstack
In-person, back-to-school events are the perfect opportunity to introduce parents and caregivers to Beanstack and invite them to join the conversation regarding their student’s reading journey. Teachers and librarians might consider sharing a brief introduction to Beanstack during an open house or in a welcome-back newsletter. Be sure to highlight all the benefits Beanstack provides students when used consistently, and include any upcoming reading challenges your school will be running. Additionally, if your local library uses Beanstack, you can team up to advocate for the community’s support in establishing a strong reading culture. Below, we’ve generated a complete list of ideas for you to consider.
Create a "Meet Beanstack" Station
During your open house, create a “Meet Beanstack” station. Use a QR code that links to Beanstack’s student experience, so parents and caregivers can understand how kids can access and use the program. To further their knowledge, play the Beanstack explainer video. You can also send them home with copies of Beanstack’s how-to flyer and a tip sheet! On the tip sheet, provide ways parents and caregivers can help students form healthy reading habits. Tips include:
1. Encouraging daily, consistent reading
Studies show that reading daily helps children build reading capacity, comprehension, and fluency. Start small—even just five minutes a day can go a long way in establishing a strong reading habit. Aim for incremental increases throughout the school year.
2. Developing a nightly routine
Designate a specific time and place for kids to read a book at their reading level nightly. Choose the time that works best for you: after homework, after dinner, or before bedtime. Read to them, with them, or alongside them.
3. Creating a cozy space for reading
A child is more likely to want to read every day if they have a special place to do so. By utilizing pillows, blankets, comfortable furniture, and special lighting, kids feel more compelled to want to read and build that habit. You can model this behavior by encouraging everyone to read at this spot daily.
4. Reading on the go
Reading can happen at just about any time! Listen to audiobooks while traveling so kids hear fluent reading, bring a device with headphones so they can listen to audiobooks while you’re out running errands, or keep a bag of books in the car that they can access during long drives or between after-school activities—picture books and graphic novels are perfect for this.
5. Encouraging discussion
Discuss the book by asking them questions. You might ask, “What was your favorite part?” or “What surprised you about this book?” You can also ask them what they liked and disliked or who their favorite character was and why. Have kids brainstorm a different ending for further discussion to extend learning!
Get Hands-on With a Demonstration
Demo Beanstack for parents and caregivers! Show them how to access Beanstack and help them create accounts. Gather a group together, or if time allows, meet one on one. Either way, if you show them how to get started, they are more apt to keep going. Once accounts are set up, lead them through an exploration of the Beanstack app, including the different reading challenges your school will be participating. Remember to save time for questions at the end of your demonstration.
Set up a Beanstack Survey Station
This is an excellent option for schools that have previously used Beanstack and are looking for ways to increase participation. It’s also great for mid-school-year events to ensure everyone is in the know. Gather insight into parents’ and caregivers’ knowledge of the program by creating a QR code that links to a Google survey form or Survey Monkey they can answer. Tip: A general rule of thumb is to include 4–5 questions. Possible survey questions might include:
- On a scale of 1–5, how familiar are you with Beanstack? 1 indicates not familiar, and 5 indicates very familiar.
- What do you enjoy most about the Beanstack app?
- What additional information would you like to know about Beanstack?
- How do you currently encourage reading at home?
- Would you like resources to support kids reading at home? (If the answer is yes, you can send them the tip sheet mentioned above.)
Stay Connected Throughout the School Year
During the school year, continue encouraging parents and caregivers to use Beanstack to participate in their student’s reading journey. Let them know there are tools available that they can use to keep practicing healthy reading habits at home. Consider sending flyers or postcards home with students containing information about how Beanstack helps build literacy skills, or include that information in a monthly email to parents and caregivers. Your website is also a great place to post helpful resources related to Beanstack!
Build Community Support With Beanstack
The more parents and caregivers actively encourage reading at home, the more likely students are to achieve reading success! Beanstack encourages you to come together with your community to create a united front of support that nurtures all readers. Should you need additional resources, access our help center for webinar recordings, short videos, rollout guides, and more.
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