- Cherry Creek School District No. 5
Literacy Night is a family affair at Fox Hollow Elementary
Tim Pray and his third-grade son Jack were surprised by what they found at Fox Hollow Elementary on the evening of Nov. 16.
“We found a line out the door,” Tim Pray said. That line of students and parents led into Fox Hollow’s second Literacy Night, a school-wide celebration of reading. “It’s a cool event,” Pray added.
Fox Hollow’s inaugural Literacy Night was held last year. Organizers Kristin Gregory and Kate Pollick, the school’s reading interventionists, hoped 40 to 50 families would show up. Instead, more than 120 families attended in 2022, so they expanded the event for 2023.
“This year we rearranged a few things, had more materials prepared, a bigger space, and our turnout this year was even bigger than last year,” Gregory said. “We had more than 200 students and families. It was an amazing evening!”
The event started with a check-in station, where families found literacy information and resources in both English and Spanish. Students picked up a bookmark that listed 12 different stations where they could try hands-on activities that were both fun and educational.
Fox Hollow’s preschool staff hosted two early literacy stations that focused on oral language, which encompasses both speaking and listening skills, and phonemic awareness, which is the ability to identify and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words.
Other teachers and student volunteers from Liberty Middle School and Grandview High School, hosted 10 additional stations, two focusing on each of these areas:
- Phonemic awareness,
- Phonics, which is matching the sounds of spoken English with individual letters or groups of letters,
- Fluency, which is the ability to read a text accurately, quickly, and with expression,
- Vocabulary, the body of words used in a particular language, and
- Comprehension, which is the ability to read text, process it, and understand its meaning.
Those are the five components of the “Science of Reading,” an interdisciplinary body of scientifically based research about reading. The Colorado Department of Education now requires all kindergarten through third grade teachers in Colorado to be trained in the Science of Reading.
“It’s a systematic, strategic way of teaching reading,” Gregory explained. It also aligns with the Cherry Creek School District’s Strategic Plan and its commitment to develop independent and confident readers, writers, communicators, and thinkers by providing every student with authentic and rigorous learning experiences through a structured, culturally responsive, and evidence-based approach to literacy instruction.
Each of the 12 literacy stations at Fox Hollow’s Literacy Night featured a fun activity, such as glow-in-the-dark hopscotch, which focused on different skills for different ages. For example, younger students played with short vowel sounds and consonants, while older students used diagraphs and blends, or more advanced vowel blends.
Parent Kaitlynne Wetmore attended with her third-grader Duke, kindergartener Lucy, and her two younger children. She said the whole group enjoyed the activities.
“It was such a family-friendly event,” she said. “It was a lot of fun. The fact that it was so engaging is really important to me as a parent. I left with a wide array of techniques and tools up my sleeve to support them at home and do the same things they’ve been doing in the classroom.”
Every child who attended also left with a free book, thanks to the proceeds from the Fox Hollow Book Fair.
Reading interventionist Kristin Gregory hoped every student left with one other thing:
“Joy for reading,” she said. “Joy for reading.”