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Christmas Read Alouds

by Miriam Downey 25. November 2013 18:36


Do you read aloud to your children? Author Jim Trelease has based his whole career on reading aloud to children, young and old. Most of us know the value of reading aloud to younger children, but there is great value in reading aloud to older children as well. He says, "The first reason to read aloud to older kids is to consider the fact that a child's reading level doesn't catch up to his listening level until about the eighth grade." In other words, kids can understand books that are too hard to decode themselves if they are read aloud. "You have to hear it before you can speak it, and you have to speak it before you can read it. Reading at this level happens through the ear."

Trelease says that when children hear a good book read to them they know that if they keep working on their reading, some good things are ahead of them. He calls it "broadening the menu." The joys of reading are ahead of them and the hard work will soon be behind them.

Additionally, reading together is a bonding experience that happens when more than one person is reading the same book.There's time for reflection, for sharing--something great that can be shared every day. Trelease says that shared words have power and an energy that you can't get from TV or the Internet. Children will recall read alouds with fond memories long after the book is finished.

I recall with great affection a Christmas weekend when we had a large family gathering with several elementary aged children. I read aloud The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson after supper each night. It only took a couple of hours altogether, but it was such a wonderful experience for us all. On the third night, they staged the book as a play and had a great time.

Reading aloud a Christmas story might be a way to introduce the whole idea of reading aloud to your children. Here are a few books that can be found online or at the library that would make great read alouds for your whole family. Remember you can read aloud a book that has much greater vocabulary than your youngest child can read. In other words, children understand more words than they can read. Once you get going, you are not going to want to stop. Jim Trelease's book, The Read Aloud Handbook, is a wonderful resource for read aloud books.

We must start with the Nativity story in the Bible. You can find the story in Matthew chapter 1 and Luke chapter 2.

Probably the most famous Christmas story after the Bible is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It can easily be found online, and you could follow up the reading by watching the movie.

Then there is The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. It is available at the library or bookstore.

Here are some other great Christmas stories that are wonderful read alouds. Have fun!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. the Grinch is the great Scrooge of the 20th century.

A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas. This is a memory of a famous English poet about Christmas in the early years of the 20th century.

The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore. The famous Christmas poem can be read in one sitting.

Red Ranger Came Calling: A Guaranteed True Christmas Story by Berkeley Breathed. Great read aloud available at the library.

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote. Capote had an unusual childhood, and this story tells of one Christmas in his life.

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