Let me begin by giving credit where credit is due... the idea for this event came from friends at our other K-2 building. I loved the idea when I first heard it and have used it for the past 3 years!
So... rather than participate in the end-of-the-year play that has become quite a big production and competition for our first graders, our class now hosts a "Literacy Luncheon" over the course of two days. Families are asked to attend on one of the two days. We begin each luncheon with a series of Reader's Theaters and a review of our year together.... all of it releated to reading, of course. We sing songs, recite poems we've enjoyed throughout the year, and talk about our favorite books. Then half of the class goes to lunch in the cafeteria while the other half has a picnic-style lunch in our classroom with their families. The second day is the same as the first; the class just switches lunch in the cafeteria or lunch in the classroom.
Before the Literacy Luncheon, I gave my first graders time to decide what they wanted to create as their "background scenery." Because our theme was "Let's Read S'More!", they wanted it to reflect our love of books. Because we call our classroom "Camp Read-A-Lot," they also wanted it to be an outdoorsy-type of background. All I provided was the paper, and they went to work! It's raining books! :)
We also spent time thinking about our favorite books before the event and wrote our own "Top 5" favorite book lists to display in the hallway. When our families came in, they had an opportunity to write their own lists and add it to the walls! While they are having lunch together, families have an opportunity to read from children's book boxes, poetry binders, journals, and books around the room.
Rather than spending weeks and weeks rehearsing and memorizing, we focused on what really matters to us. It truly was a celebration of our love of reading!