Holiday Reading

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snowsledEvery child in America looks forward to winter break and they’re happy as Santa’s elves for about three days.  But once the presents have been unwrapped and they are tired of playing in the snow, how do you keep the kiddos busy?  How about a family read-aloud?

In this world of electronic news, tablets, game systems, and social media we sometimes forget the good old fashioned joy of books.  As a teacher I found that all of my students – (yes – even the students in middle school!) loved having a book read aloud to them.  There is something magical about sitting and listening to a story unfold through another person’s voice.  The mind is free to picture the scenes and dive into the the story.

Listening to books read aloud also helps children deal with difficult concepts like death and loss without having the actual experience. It allows room for discussion about tough topics and opens doors for meaningful conversation.  It’s also just plain fun.

In an article by Great Schools.org, author Jim Trelease lists some of the advantages children receive from read-aloud time.

  • increased listening comprehension
  • larger vocabulary
  • increased attention span
  • greater appreciation for books

This holiday break plan your own family rad-aloud.  Select a specific time each night and gather the whole family to listen to a wonderful story.  You may find that your family wants to continue the reading long past the winter season.

Below are some suggestions for family read-aloud nights.  Remember that children have a much higher listening vocabulary than their reading comprehension.  So don’t be afraid to read a complex book to your second grader.  Just pause periodically to ask if there are questions.

Fun read-alouds for the whole family:

The Crown Affair by Jeanie Franz Ransomcrown affair

When Jack and Jill fell down the hill, did Jack really lose his crown, or did someone make off with it? Hard Boiled Detective, Joe Dumpty, is on the case! Tipped off that a certain other nursery-rhyme Jack might be responsible for the crown’s disappearance, Joe sets out to interrogate suspects,

gollywhopperThe Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman

Gil Goodson has been studying, training, and preparing for months to compete in the Gollywhopper Games. Everything is at stake. Once Gil makes it through the tricky preliminary rounds and meets his teammates in the fantastical Golly Toy and Game Company, the competition gets tougher. Brainteasers, obstacle courses, mazes, and increasingly difficult puzzles and decisions—not to mention temptations, dilemmas, and new friends (and enemies)—are all that separate Gil from ultimate victory. An interactive and inventive page-turner perfect for young readers who love to solve puzzles!

geeksGeeks, Girls, and Secret Identities by Mike Jung
Vincent Wu is Captain Stupendous’s No. 1 Fan, but even he has to admit that Captain Stupendous has been a little off lately. During Professor Mayhem’s latest attack, Captain Stupendous barely made it out alive – although he did manage to save Vincent from a giant monster robot. It’s Vincent’s dream come true… until he finds out Captain Stupendous’s secret identity: It’s Polly Winnicott-Lee, the girl Vincent happens to have a crush on.

Captain Stupendous’s powers were recently transferred to Polly in a fluke accident, and so while she has all of his super strength and super speed, she doesn’t know how to use them, and she definitely doesn’t know all the strengths and weaknesses of his many nemeses. But Vincent and his friends are just the right fan club to train up their favorite superhero before he (she?) has to face Professor Mayhem again. And if they make it through this battle for the safety of Copperplate City, Vincent might just get up the courage to ask Polly on a date.

1045145The Loin, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
When the Pevensie children, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are sent out of London during World War II, they have no idea of the magical journey they are beginning. In the darkness of the old country house where they are sent, the children stumble through an old wardrobe to the land of Narnia, where animals talk and magic exists.

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