Reading aloud to children is a fun and easy way to help them develop of love of reading. Children become better readers by listening to stories. Younger children struggling with the words can enjoy stories while developing their listening vocabulary.
Christmas is the best time for storytelling. There are thousands of stories to choose from. After reading a few, even second language learners have gained enough background information to understand the stories.
Rhymes and Repetitions
Younger children love rhymes and repetitions. Rhyming stories sound like songs and repeating lines give kids a chance to read along.
Santa’s Stuck by Rhonda Greene [Penguin Group, 2006] has simple rhymes and the repetitive phrase “No luck. Santa’s stuck.” Students can guess the rhymes or help with the phrase. The class could also create their own story with different animals helping Santa who’s stuck in the chimney.
Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore [Accord Publishing Limited, 2009] is a classic that should be read each year. Students can be given their own stanza to illustrate and read to the rest of the class.
Comedy for Christmas
Funny stories are always a winner. Laughter is the perfect medicine for a stressful month of teaching Christmas carols, making stockings, decking the halls with boughs of holly, while teaching everything else. The pictures are helpful for second language learners who are still struggling to understand.
How Santa Got His Job by Stephen Krensky [Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2002] is a wonderful story about all the different jobs Santa tries before finding his true calling in life.
Santa Claustrophobia by Mike Reiss [Penguin Group, 2002] is a humorous tale about Santa’s replacement for Christmas. Children will enjoy coming up with their own replacements and the problems that arise.
Who will Help Santa This Year by Jerry Pallotta [Scholastic Inc., 2007] is a hilarious account of different creatures helping Santa get ready for Christmas. Children can add more creatures and the results of their helpfulness.
The Lump of Coal by Lemony Snicket [Harper Collins Publisher, 2009] is a funny story about a lump of coal, the dreaded stocking stuffer for children on Santa’s naughty list.
The Meaning of Christmas
What is the true meaning of Christmas? Children think of Santa Claus and presents, but there is more to Christmas than just gifts. It’s a time to share and spend time with loved ones.
Shall I Knit You a Hat? A Christmas Yarn by Kate Klise [Square Fish, 2007] is the story of a rabbit that spends time knitting presents for everyone else that there is no time to make a present for Mommy. It turns out okay in the end when Mommy tells little rabbit a secret.
Gift of the Magi by O. Henry [Aladdin Paperbacks, 1997] is the perfect story about sharing. Have students discuss the surprise ending and whether it is a happy ending.
Tree of Cranes by Allen Say [Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009] is a lovely story about a Japanese boy’s first Christmas. His mother, who is from California, decides to have a Christmas tree this year and decorates it with paper cranes. It is the perfect story to talk about different cultures and practices.
Christmas Stories for Teens
Teens love to listen to stories, too. Read a story together, taking turns to read aloud.
When Santa Fell to Earth by Cornelia Funke [Scholastic Inc., 2009] is a great story about the last real Santa Claus. After falling to Earth, he uncovers a plot to destroy Christmas. With the help of some children, he needs to make Christmas safe from a money making maniac.
Kris Kringle by Maria Ciampi [AuthorHouse, 2008] is a funny screen play about Santa and a magical curse. Since it is written like a play, students can be assigned parts to read, practicing how to read with feeling.
The Magic of Christmas
Christmas is a wonderful holiday. Magic seems to be swirling around like the snowflakes in the air. Everyone believes in miracles and hope is everywhere.
Santa Goes Green by Anne Margaret Lewis [Mackinac Island Press Inc., 2008] is a story about a boy who wants to save his adopted polar bear. Santa grants the boy’s wish and decides to change his own ways to help the environment.
Dear Santa Claus by Alan Durant [Candlewick Press, 2007] is the story of one girl’s attempt to understand Christmas. She writes to ask Santa a question and gets a response. The book includes five letters from Santa, tucked inside real envelopes for children to find. Can anything be more magical than letters from Santa?
Santa’s Book of Names by David McPhail [Little Brown Young Readers, 1997] is a story about a boy who has trouble reading. He finds Santa’s book, helps him deliver presents, and gets the perfect gift for Christmas.
Christmas is a special time for sharing with everyone. Books make wonderful Christmas gifts, especially if shared with family and friends. Choose a book and read it with someone special. Besides improving literacy, the time together creates priceless memories.