Reading with kids over Christmas

30 November, 2018 : 13:05
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With so much going on, finding time to keep up regular reading habits with your children during the school holidays can be tricky. Especially if you're travelling around the country visiting family and friends, and the children are more interested in counting down the days to Christmas and seeing how late they can stay up!

If reading at bedtime doesn’t suit your change in routine, why not read together as a family after tea, or listen to an audio book in the car? Listening to a brilliantly narrated story will hold children's attention during a long journey and demonstrates speech patterns, phrasing and how to bring out humour when you’re reading aloud.

Choose Christmas-themed stories, big on festive cheer and that everyone will enjoy. Take turns reading a paragraph each and talk about the story together afterwards. Try asking: did you notice any metaphors or similes? Which part did you like the best and why? What interesting vocabulary or descriptive language was used? Will the story stand the test of time and become a family Christmas tradition?

Here are six seasonal tales, loved by the Parentkind team:

1. Twas the night before Christmas

The much loved poem A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore has been brought to life in many a picture book and audio book. Traditionally read on Christmas Eve, it tells the story of a visit from Santa and his wordless encounter with the father of the family.

“I have really fond memories of my dad reading this every year and I’ve carried on the tradition with my own children. They don’t like the illustrations in my old picture book (apparently they’re creepy), so we bought a more up-to-date version.”

2. The Snowman, by Raymond Briggs

James builds a snowman in the garden and when he wakes up during the night, he discovers that it’s come to life. He shows the Snowman the wonders of his house, and in return the Snowman takes him on a magical journey.

This famous Christmas tale has been transformed into board books, picture books, activity books, and of course for television too, making it easy to share with children of all ages and reading abilities.

3. The Christmasaurus, by Tom Fletcher

The Christmasaurus is a relatively new offering from Tom Fletcher of McFly / McBusted fame! The story tells us how a boy named William met a dinosaur (the Christmasaurus) one Christmas Eve and their magical adventure. Good Reads sums it up beautifully: 'It’s about friendship and families, sleigh bells and Santa, singing elves and flying reindeer, music and magic. It’s about discovering your heart’s true desire, and learning that the impossible might just be possible.'

4. The Jolly Postman at Christmas, by Janet and Allen Ahlberg

In this timeless tale, it's Christmas Eve and the Jolly Postman is delivering greetings to various fairy-tale characters. Beautifully illustrated there are envelopes containing letters and cards addressed to the likes of ‘Baby Bear’ and ‘Mr H Dumpty’, that children open and touch as they explore the book.

5. Stick Man, by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheiffler

‘Stick Man lives in the family tree with his Stick Lady Love and their stick children three.' But it's a dangerous life being a Stick Man. This classic picture book follows Stick Man’s journey as he’s mistaken for an ordinary stick - a dog wants to play with him, a swan builds her nest with him, and lastly he’s laid out in a fireplace before (to everyone’s great relief) eventually being rescued by Santa himself!

6. The Girl Who Saved Christmas, by Matt Haig

A great Christmas read for young readers (aged 7+) and all believers! Love Reading sums it up: 'If magic has a beginning, can it also have an end? When Amelia wants a wish to come true she knows just the man to ask - Father Christmas. But the magic she wants to believe in is starting to fade, and Father Christmas has more than impossible wishes to worry about. Upset elves, reindeers dropping out of the sky, angry trolls and the chance that Christmas might be cancelled. But Amelia isn't just any ordinary girl. And - as Father Christmas is going to find out - if Christmas is going to be saved, he might not be able to do it alone ...'

Do you have a favourite Christmas read? Please leave a comment so we can share your recommendations with other parents.

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A contribution from Parentkind staff. 

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