December Read Alouds for Kids
Happy holidays, y'all! It's the most wonderful time of year...for books! There's nothing like a read aloud to help scrape the children off the ceiling! :-p Here are a few of my favorites:
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1. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell!
A classic "Old Lady" story to kick off the craziness season. If you're not familiar with this series, the Old Lady swallows a series of things that eventually come back out to make some seasonal thing--a scarecrow, an Easter bunny, or in this case, Santa Claus.
2. Pete the Cat Saves Christmas
It's exactly what it sounds like. The furry friend is back to save Christmas and make sure everyone has a groovy holiday. The rhythm and rhyme of this book will have your littles excited to hear this read aloud.
3. Too Many Tamales
As the family gathers for their Christmas celebration, Maria loses her mother's ring. She thinks it's in the tamales and her cousins help her eat them in search of the missing ring. This book is full of cultural connections and talking points, highlighting different traditions from different cultures.
Ready for a fun day of creating elf traps? This book is perfect for kicking off an excellent STEAM challenge!
5. The Biggest Snowman Ever
This one can take you into January, too. One day while reading this book to my class, I substituted the names of the characters for names of my students. Could I do this with any book? Of course. But it has become the "magic book" in our classroom. Scholastic has had it for $1 in recent years in December and I've gotten one for each student in my class. They go nuts every time we read it.
6. Mrs. Greenberg's Messy Hanukkah
I love this book because it talks about a culture that isn't the majority in our classroom and it focuses on taking care of others during the holidays. Rachel is so worried that Mrs. Greenberg is alone for Hanukkah that she goes out of her way to make her feel special. It's a sweet story with important themes.
7. The Hanukkah Hop
We always talk about different cultures' traditions during December and The Hanukkah Hop is a great introduction to Jewish traditions. Rachel prepares for her family's party and gets the dreidels, latkes, and menorahs ready. It's perfect for introducing the vocabulary related to Hanukkah.
8. The Gingerbread Man
We read this one at the beginning of gingerbread week. There are many different versions of this story, but I personally prefer the classic one. Pairing it with The Ninjabread Man makes for a great lesson on comparing stories.
9. Jingle Bells Batman Smells! (P.S. So Does May.)
Junie B. Jones is in full swing during the holidays. The rambunctious first grader learns an important lesson about giving in this fun early chapter book.
10. Snowmen at Christmas
I love to read this one just before we leave for winter break. It's an imaginative fantasy about how snowmen might celebrate Christmas and one that leaves most of my students wide-eyed and ready for the holiday to begin.
11. An Irish Night Before Christmas
As far as comparing traditions goes, this one will make your littles think. In Ireland, the elves wear green, jump down the chimney to let Santa in the front door, and the donkeys that pull the sleigh will eat the roof if you're not careful. This book has so many talking points and is a great way to introduce a wreath craft. Disclaimer: While I love this book, I do edit out a few phrases that may be seen as cheeky in America. Use your discretion and read it ahead of time before introducing it to your class.
12. The Smallest Gift of Christmas
Roland discovers that the best gifts of Christmas are not necessarily the biggest gifts. If you love Peter H. Reynolds books (I am Human, I'm Here, I am Yoga, Happy Dreamer), you'll love The Smallest Gift of Christmas.
Bonus: Meet the Latkes
The story of Hanukkah as told by potatoes. It's absolutely hysterical and presents the story of the Maccabees and Jewish traditions in a child-friendly way. This is my new favorite read aloud for Hanukkah!
I hope you found some new titles that you'll love sharing with your class and some new strategies for sharing them. Enjoy and have a wonderful, fun-filled, holiday season!