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School Literacy Night Ideas

Bring on the books! Brentwood Elementary School’s stellar staff hosts a literacy event for their kiddos every year, so we decided to plunge into the pages with them. Three books, a handful of chocolates, and several standees later, we were ready to open the doors for a night of fun!

The school scoured the bookshelves for spectacular reads and landed on three winners:

  • The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach – A tall tale about a bear lost in a park who happened upon a scrumptious sandwich.
  • Ivan – The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla by Katherine Applegate – An incredible anecdote about a gorilla who went from a mall attraction to a free-roaming zoo animal—drawing the public’s eye along the way.
  • My Sitter Is a T-Rex! by Paul Orshoski – A funny fable about a T-Rex gone babysitter. Hilarious adventures unfold!

What gets students more excited than free candy? We kicked off the evening with custom chocolates for a little school pride and a lot of sugar. Let the reading begin!

"Story walks" were set up down the hallways so families could stroll and read each book page-by-page. Every hall had a different book, making banners perfect for keeping stories straight. And at the end of each was a fun surprise: photo ops!

Ivan – The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla

The library served as the perfect space for Ivan. With two settings – shopping mall and zoo – we had quite the scene to set. Challenge accepted!

The Mall

A metal window prop, gorilla standee, shopping bags and BAM! Done.

The Zoo

All the props were palm tree and grass standees, making the set-up a snap. We simply taped the cardboard stands on the backs and stood them up! Tissue grass filled in the floor—so easy! Just shake, crunch and lay.

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich

We transformed the art room into a picnic in the park. A couple sets of our Happy Campers Forest Trees fashioned a fast backdrop. Next, we personalized a bear standee – something the school can use again and again since their mascot is a bear. More tissue grass for the ground, as well as a blanket and basket, topped off the look and added a pop of color.

My Sitter Is a T-Rex!

A spare classroom effortlessly became a home-like setting for the unlikely sitter. A few strips of flat paper = instant living room walls. And nothing says "cozy" like a fireplace. Three-dimensional and three feet tall, this prop is essentially two cardboard boxes taped together—such a cinch. Next, we adorned Ms. T-Rex with pearls and a handbag to boot. Add in a rug, chair, and a few simple decorations and we were ready to step into the story.

What a blast! Books came to life and the students were all smiles. The best part is that so much of the decor can be reused for things like a themed classroom, reading nook or school play.

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