Winter Break Literacy Ideas
Family Reading Time
Create a special time for your family to snuggle up and enjoy a read-aloud. Children of all ages can appreciate a well-written picture book, and chapter books can be enjoyed by most ages if they are read with emotion and in short chunks. Next week is a perfect opportunity to stock up on books to read with family as we have Winter Break Book Checkout. More experienced readers can take turns reading to family members. For e-books, check out Epic, which has a great library of children’s e-books in a variety of genres and languages.
Whether traveling through Costa Rica or to a wintry place abroad, travel journals are a great way for children to record their experiences. Children can use a plain notebook to write and draw about places they visit, friends and family members they get to see, and new experiences. The travel journal template, travel journal picture page, or 2-page travel journal can be printed for more structure or guidance to help children start their writing process.
These video writing prompts by teacher and author John Spencer encourage creativity by inviting children to write about exciting topics, such as spies and ninjas, inventing a dream class, or discovering a magical movie theater. Some prompts tackle opinion writing on questions about technology or junk food. For a screen-free experience, you can download transcripts of the writing prompts here.
Family Game Night
Playing board games as a family can help you enjoy some fun together over the holidays while working on reading skills in the process. Some examples of games that have a reading, spelling, or storytelling component are Tall Tales, Scrabble, Boggle, Sequence Letters, and Scattergories. These games are sure to help your child discover that learning can be fun and are perfect ways to make memories during winter break!
Invite your child to hand-write thank-you notes to relatives and friends for any gifts they may have received during the holidays or write a blurb for your family’s holiday card “year in review.” Beginning writers write their name on thank-you cards or use add beginning letters to label their drawings. Children of all ages can get creative and draw a design on the letter or card to make this learning activity even more fun!
Cook or Bake Holiday Recipes
Holiday cooking or baking can be a great reading activity if you have your child read the recipe out loud. Depending on your child’s age, interest, and skill level, ask them to read recipes out loud as you complete each step, or invite them to read and cook under your supervision at the same time. Teach them any words they don’t recognize – all while they learn new recipes and develop new skills they can use for years to come.
Whether you travel to the beach or the snowy slopes, young children can practice writing in nature as a sensory experience. Have your child use sticks or plant stems to draw, write their name, or leave secret messages in the sand, the snow, or the forest floor.
Storytelling with Found Objects
Join your child to retell a favorite story, or invite them to create an original story, using found objects, such as paper tubes, pebbles, pencils, bottle caps, and ribbon to represent characters and setting elements. How To Tell A Story With Found Objects from The Storytelling Centre has ideas and a short video example to help you get started.
Podcasts for the Road
These podcasts can allow your child to enjoy stories wherever they are. Listen together and discuss each person’s favorite parts of the story, which character is most like you, and how you would each change the ending to a story.
Journey with Story: Folktales and Fairy Tales from around the world. Also available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
Story Pirates: Original stories, written and submitted by children, re-enacted by professional storytellers. Also available on Spotify.
Stories Podcast: Bedtime stories for all ages. Also available on iTunes and Spotify.
Six Minutes Podcast: Exciting stories told in 6 minute chapters, ideal for ages 6-11. Also available on Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, and Spotify.
The Spanish Experiment: A collection of classics retold by native Spanish speakers.
KidsListen: A free, ad-free podcast app designed specifically for children, with kid-safe content. Available on the Apple App Store or Google Play.