Written by: Julie Provencher
Simple and effective. This year, forget the hidden chocolates in your calendar and have a special story time countdown to Christmas. Make a list of Christmas-themed books and pen these down on a calendar. Then, just read the books on their designated date. Your children will eagerly look forward to each night’s story. Santa, elves and reindeer will all come to life in your children’s imagination, and with a little luck… give them wonderful Christmas dreams all month long.
This special fairy leaves beautifully wrapped books under children’s pillows in December. Unlike Santa, she doesn’t wait till Christmas Eve and can even leave her gifts several times during the month. Whether she leaves a magazine, comic book, novel or illustration book, she adds to the holiday magic and loves to surprise your family.
Use the cozy holiday glow of your house to create the perfect reading area. Snuggle up next to your decorated tree for a special story time, or add some Christmas lights in your child’s room to create a holiday reading area. For a walk down memory lane, reading with your child under a blanket with a flashlight never gets old.
The holidays are the perfect time to get your vocal chords going. Listen to, read and sing some Christmas carols together before bedtime. This is a great way to foster the holiday spirit and a sweet opportunity to rock your little ones to sleep while singing to them softly. What’s more, a great Christmas music list or audio book can be a valuable asset during all your drives to visit relatives. You can bet you’ll be hearing your kids humming Jingle Bells before Christmas comes around.
During the holiday break, take time to bond with your child by reading a good book under a warm blanket with a savoury hot chocolate. Stop time and enjoy this simple pleasure. You can also take your teenager to a trendy coffee shop and enjoy an hour or so of reading or discussing books.
Ever done the elf on a shelf tradition? The idea is simple: an elf is sent from the North Pole to keep an eye on the kids. Every night he reports back to Santa Clause and is found in a different spot the next morning. Why not have him found sitting on a different book or shelf in the library and spice up this fun Christmas tradition?
You can also take this a step further and have him hold a piece of paper with a riddle or vocabulary words… so Santa knows your child is extra nice and studies hard. Let your imagination run wild, as long as the elves encourage reading in their own special way.
Finally, no one is better placed to give life to your child’s dreams than you. Visit your local libraries with your children and discover the wide variety of classics to read or listen to during the holidays. Furthermore, if Santa doesn’t fill your child’s stockings, a library card or magazine subscription won’t ruin you and will make your child’s eyes sparkle with delight. There’s always a way to instill reading in your home during the holidays.
To conclude, I’d like suggest a simple yet meaningful way to give back during the holidays. Many families don’t have the means to offer their children new books. You can make a difference by donating some gently used or new books to your local holiday toy drive, or to La Lecture en Cadeau, an organization that collects and distributes new books to children aged 0-12 years from underprivileged backgrounds. There is no greater way to celebrate the spirit of giving than to nurture a child’s love of reading, a gift that will last a lifetime!
A happy holiday season to all of you!
For more ideas on ways to integrate reading to your family’s daily routine, read my book: Trucs Lecture (CARD edition). You can also visit my website at pouvoirdelire.com or follow me on Twitter @Pouvoirdelire.
Julie Provencher, Mother and Teacher