How to Create Winter Traditions and How They Can Promote Literacy
The Children’s Book Review | December 14, 2019
Growing Readers: Learning to Love Reading and Writing Column 7
This editorial article was written by Lizzie Mussoline, M. Ed.
How to Sneak in a Little Literacy Through Some of Our Favorite Winter and Holiday Traditions
December is here and it is flying by! I don’t know about you, but I tend to feel like I need to cram a thousand things in when really, all that matters is being present and enjoying our children so we can soak in this magical time of year together! Here are a few tips on how to sneak in a little literacy through some of my favorite winter and holiday traditions that I hope will help everyone unwind, connect, and smile.
I love to bake holiday cookies with my kiddos. Recipes are functional texts—a type of nonfiction that teaches you how to do something. Have your child read various recipes and discuss why this genre is important. What other functional texts are there? Can you find some at the library? Write your own functional text. The possibilities are endless! We also love to give baked goods to teachers, neighbors, friends, and community helpers like postal workers and our local firefighters. Don’t forget to encourage your kiddos to include a thoughtful note of appreciation to practice those writing skills!
Snow Day Fun!
My snow day musts include playing in the snow, drinking hot chocolate, wearing pajamas all day, watching a movie, and curling up with a favorite book or two or three. My boys are almost done listening to me read Charlotte’s Web aloud to them and they can’t wait to watch the movie version. We know the book is ALWAYS better. Still, it’s a great skill to be able to compare and contrast the book and movie versions so that they can practice formulating and expressing opinions as well as having a thoughtful, engaging, and interesting discussion about the two versions. Some of our favorite movie adaptations are anything by Roald Dahl, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Because of Winn Dixie, Stewart Little, Percy Jackson, Chronicles of Narnia, Holes, How to Train your Dragon and The Lorax.
While we’re at it, don’t forget about picture books—they are not just for young kids! Since snow days are perfect for curling up in cozy jammies and reading a good book, make sure you have some of these titles (see below) on hand. Be sure to check them out next time you visit your local library or bookstore! Also, encourage your kiddos to be authors, too. What story do they feel like telling? Do they want to write a prequel or sequel to any of the books they read? Perhaps one of the books inspired them to write a similar type of book? Pull out the arts and crafts and let them get to work! Share stories around the fire, and with hot chocolate, of course.
Blizzard by John Rocco: A true story about the author’s experience as a child during the blizzard of 1978, which brought fifty-three inches of snow to his town in Rhode Island!
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats: In our opinion, this classic never gets old!
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs: A wordless book that encourages kids to use their imagination and spark creativity!
Construction Site on Christmas Night by Sherri Duskey Rinker: We think rhyming can be fun for all ages, but for the youngest readers, it is an incredibly important pre-reading skill! Encourage kiddos to identify the rhyming words and come up with their own rhyming word pairs, too.
Acts of Service
It is so easy to get wrapped up in a thousand different things during this time of year but bringing awareness to those that are less fortunate is an invaluable life skill. Raising kind-hearted children who can feel empathy for others can change the world! Refer to our November column if you need suggestions or ideas on how to help others, or volunteer as a family. Whether you sponsor a family, invite a lonely neighbor over for a warm cup of coffee, or read to the animals at the local shelter, I am sure that discussing and journaling about the experience will go a long way. Better yet, have a family meeting and discuss how you might be able to help others. I guarantee your kiddos will have some excellent and heartwarming suggestions.
Thank you for reading the Growing Readers: Learning to Love Reading and Writing column. Bookmark this Growing Readers Column link or subscribe to our e-newsletter so you do not miss out on the monthly reading tips. How to Create Winter Traditions and How They Can Promote Literacy was written by Lizzie Mussoline, M. Ed.—follow her on Instagram: @wildflower_learning_denver.