At the beginning of the year, I created an Alphabet Book to use with my students. I thought they would all come in knowing their ABC’s and that this would be a great way to review while we looked at different types of words. I was so excited about them that I had them copied and stapled before the school year began. Then, I got my class, and more than half of them didn’t know all of their letters or letter sounds, and I put all of the Alphabet Books on the shelf indefinitely.
Fast forward 13 weeks, and all of my kids now know all of their letters and letter sounds!!! In fact, most of my kids are now reading at a Reading A-Z level of C or higher (yeah!!!!!!). So, I pulled out the Alphabet Books, and the kids are in love!
The books are a super simple way for them to “collect” words from around the room, or in books. After they have “collected” their words, it’s a good way to work on reading common words. Each page is coordinated to my phonics posters, and has lines for students to write down words from our word wall. (Did you hear that my word wall is exploding? If not, check out this post from earlier this week.) The kids have had a great time with this center, and we are beginning to use the books in reading time too. Plus, it’s a low maintenance literacy center – which is really nice at this time of the year when my kids are a little crazier than normal!
As we approach the Holiday season, I started thinking about all of the books I like to read to my students this time of year. So, I decided to do this week’s Top 10 post on the Holiday Books I like to use for Read Aloud.
10. The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer – This is a great non-denominational book, that links science to the holidays.
9. The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore – The classic holiday book! I love to talk about the images created in your head while reading this book – great for visualization!
8. Hanukah Moon by Deborah da Costa – We’re familiar with books about how Christmas is celebrated around the world, but this is the first book I’ve read that talks about how Hanukah is celebrated outside of the US. This cute story about how a girl celebrates Hanukah with her aunt in Mexico. Great story for diversity!
7. Home for Christmas by Jan Brett – I love Jan Brett any time of the year, but this cute Christmas story about Rollo the troll who learns that home is the most important place to be is always a favorite of my kids.
6. Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanza by Donna L. Washington – Love, love the character lesson here about helping others. It also connects to Bre’r Rabbit, which connects in with folktales.
5. The Legend of the Poinsetta by Tomie dePaola – Another folktale link, this “legend” stresses that it’s not the gift you give but the thought behind the gift that’s important – a fact too often left out of Christmas celebrations.
4. Light the Lights! A Story About Celebrating Hanukah and Christmas by Margaret Moorman – Candles are a way that so many Winter Holidays are celebrated. This book talks about how both holidays celebrated by the little girl include candles. As a mom of bi-cultural children, I love books that talk about how it is okay to celebrate many holidays.
3. The Little Christmas Elf by Nikki Shannon Smith – Great holiday story about not giving up. I actually have fond memories of reading this story when I was a little girl!
2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss – I’m a big Dr. Seuss fan, and this is one of his best. I love the message behind this book and the message that community is more important than material things.
1. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg – The quintessential Christmas story! I love to read this book and hand out bells on ribbons to each child, proving that each child believes!
What holiday books do you use for read aloud? Post us a comment to let us know!