When I was in the classroom, I created “The Current Events Cafe”. My idea was to get parents in the classroom and to help my kids to improve their reading of nonfiction material, as well as become more aware of current events. Each month I invited parents with their children into my classroom 30 minutes before school started to read informational texts. To make it more appealing I gave it a café vibe by providing soft music, donuts, juice and coffee. I had tablecloths on the groupings of desks and at each table I provided informational books on a variety of topics that I knew would interest my students. I also provided children’s magazines, like Ranger Rick, Time for Kids, Highlights, Kids Post and encouraged parents to bring in any from home as well. To ensure the parents were engaged, I provided task cards to help parents guide their discussion with their child before, during and after reading. I put task cards with every piece of reading material and kept the text or magazine/newspaper with the card in a Ziploc bag.
My Current Events Café was a huge hit and after a couple months, parents provided the donuts, juice and coffee as it was rotated among the parents.
What you will find included here is task cards for reading informational text and for reading newspapers or magazines. You just need to print them on cardstock and laminate for durability. I have made them in both black/white and color. Use your own books from your classroom library or borrow from the school. Ask parents to send in old children’s magazines or periodicals. Depending on your grade level, there are many free sources to obtain articles for your “Non-Fiction Café”, like newsela.org. I have also provided a letter that you can send to parents to advertise your café. Feel free to create your own.
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Mystery Reader Program
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