Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Make Holiday Reading a Family Tradition

While everyone is looking forward to the upcoming winter break, research shows that young children who do not maintain their reading habits can fall behind their peers during summer months or even to some extent during the extended breaks like the one set to begin soon.

Spring Branch ISD librarians and teachers have dozens of suggestions to make the holiday ahead a fun reading time. Studies also show that away from school, many students spend less time reading. Parents can make a difference at this time! Just a few minutes reading daily can make a great difference.

Parent suggestions:
  • Make reading enjoyable with easy or self-selected books; talk about books and the value of reading; take time reading and sharing your selections
  • Read aloud to your children
  • Make a time for reading – a little time and often is just fine
  • Help choose books that are “just right” for the child’s reading level
  • Encourage children to read independently if they are able to do so
  • Do other activities – write and mail postcards, read recipes together, write an email to a family member or friend
  • Visit the public library and let children choose books and magazines
  • Turn off the digital screens – TV, Playstation, Wii – and reward reading.

Here are a few holiday reading suggestions compiled by SBISD Librarians and Spring Branch Middle School Librarian Brandee Smith to start a reading conversation in your family:

Elementary Level
  • Auntie Claus, Elise Primavera
  • How Murray Saved Christmas, Mike Reiss
  • Santa Duck, David Milgrim
  • Dewey’s Christmas at the Library, Vicki Myron
  • Merry Christmas Splat, Rob Scotton
  • The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein
  • The Night Before Christmas (Pop-up), Clement Clarke Moore
  • The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg
  • The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy, Jane Thayer
  • Santa Calls, William Joyce
  • Snowmen at Christmas, Carolyn Buehner
  • Too Many Tamales, Gary Soto
  • The 12 Days of Christmas: A Pop-up Celebration, Robert Sabuda
  • Olive, the Other Reindeer, J.otto Seibold
  • The Christmas Magic, Lauren Thompson
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Dr. Seuss
  • Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins, Eric A. Kimmel
  • The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Barbara Robinson
  • Santa’s Book of Names, David McPhail
  • ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, attributed to Clement Clarke Moore

Secondary Level
  • The Book Thief, Markus Zusak (Now a major movie release!)
  • I Am the Messenger, Markus Zusak
  • The Alchemist, Paolo Coehlo (A wonderful story about finding out what is important in life; middle school to adult)
  • The Sea Trolls, Nancy Farmer (Action-packed story unfolds during the Vikings era filled with mysticism; late elementary to adult)
  • Thank You, Mr. Falker, Patricia Polacco (Good choice for students who struggle to read; story is rich in emotion)
  • A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle (Timeless choice!)
  • Click, Clack, Moo, Cows That Type, Doreen Cronin (Great picture book to show the importance of sticking together for both young and old)
  • The Web Files, Margie Palatini (Shades of the “Dragnet” TV series; another great picture book to read aloud to children of all ages)
  • The Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling
  • Zoro, Isabelle Allende (This author’s touch brings new life to this oft-told story; high school and adult recommended)
  • Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce, Stanley Weintraub (Adult or Young Adult recommended)
  • Son of the Mob, Gordon Korman
  • Allegiant, Veronica Roth
  • The House of Hades, Rick Riordan
  • Scarlet, Marissa Meyer

Young Adult blog recommendation:

Librarian Smith’s own blog:


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