Try this fun Family Literacy idea to countdown the days to Christmas!
With a Christmas book countdown to Christmas calendar, instead of a piece of candy or chocolate, your child opens a Christmas picture book every day. What a great way to count the days to the holidays!!
What you need:
So how many books will you need? If you want to start your calendar December 1st you will need to decide if you countdown to Christmas Eve or Christmas day. That’s 24 or 25 books total. You can borrow storybooks from the library, gather favourite stories from around the house or from friends and family, and maybe add a few new titles.
Wrap Your Books
Wrap enough Christmas and winter-themed books for every day of your calendar and add a numbered tag to each one. Next, unwrap books daily as a family event and have fun reading! The “togetherness” is part of the joy of this engaging holiday activity. *Tip: Rewrap after the holidays for your next countdown to Christmas!
Use Your Imagination
Here’s a chance to be creative and start your family tradition!
Stack your books from largest to smallest to create the shape of a Christmas tree.
Stack your books to resemble a snowman
Put all of the books in a basket or pail
Display the books on the mantle place
Hide your books each day for a fun twist
Other Holiday Book Traditions You Can Start
Start a “12 Days of Christmas” tradition with a different theme for each day. Have books to read, crafts to create, and movies or special foods to enjoy.
Keep a basket of Christmas and winter-themed books under the tree to read aloud during the holiday season.
Use a mixture of books and movies to create your countdown calendar!
Go outdoors to read your books about snow.
Wrap a new book for each child to put on their beds after they fall asleep on Christmas Eve.
Keep a collection of Christmas books that stay in a special basket during Advent.
It is that time of year when some children want to write that important letter to “you know who” in the North Pole! Other children may wish to write invitations, thank you notes and messages to friends and family.
Read, Write, Think’s Letter Generator is a great way to help children write a basic friendly letter or even a business letter. Try it out together!
Reading Rockets has some resources to help parents introduce their children to writing letters.
Whatever the reason for writing, letter writing is an essential skill, so what better time of the year than this to make it a part of your family literacy activities to do together.
Literacy weaves through all aspects of family and community life, it is the foundation for all learning. In an effort to build a culture of literacy in the home, instill a love of reading and writing, and in the promotion of early literacy, TLE’s Wonderful World of Stories : Storytime in the Community project will take place in an informal, supportive, story-rich environment with guidance from family literacy volunteers, storytellers, educators, authors and facilitators. Community family literacy events will include character-themed reading events and parent information sessions, Cat-in-the-Hat pyjama storytelling nights, interactive school reading visits, author’s visits, and How-to-Make a Fabulous Writing Kit workshops, to name a few. As well, family literacy team members, wearing story-themed items and fun accessories, will visit schools and daycares in the Laval area to generate excitement around reading by using instruments, storybooks, songs, dance, props and costumes. The objective of this project is to strengthen family literacy practices in the home and within the community, ultimately impacting school perseverance and the literacy level of children 0-12 years old through early and ongoing reading interventions.
In 2019, impact the literacy level of children 0-9 years old by reaching 2000+ families/children in the Laval and Northshore community through innovative family literacy services/events, parent support, improved access to storybooks and family literacy resources, resulting in good literacy practices in the home :
Strengthen family literacy practices within community : Impact the literacy level of children 0-12 years old
Impact school perseverance and success through early reading interventions
Support families in building expertise in language development, reading and writing to help their young children learn the early literacy skills needed for success in school
Instil a love of learning and a desire to read together as a family
STORYTIME & STORYTELLING EVENTS
Story-themed reading and storytelling events
Parent information and resources sessions
Cat-in-the-Hat Pyjama Storytime nights for the family
Interactive school and daycare reading visits
Book distribution within the community of free English children’s books and Family Literacy information
Family literacy themed workshops and information for example: How-to-Make a Fabulous Writing Kit
Help develop interest in reading/writing among children and their parents, including early learning for children aged 0-5: Help to instil a love of reading and learning at an early age
Teach participants how to integrate good literacy practices in their home with their children
Support new immigrant families and parents with low literacy skills: Provide innovative literacy instruction to parents/families in need, to be able to read and animate family literacy activities at home
Help parents learn to be more comfortable reading and telling stories to their children
Widely distribute English storybooks within the community to children and their families
Increase public awareness and sensitization to the importance of early reading and writing practices at home
Provide storytime workshop sessions to parents/families and their children to help establish family reading and writing practices at home
Inspire families to learn together: Help families create reading/writing kits for use at home with their children
Family Literacy volunteers will be visiting elementary schools in the Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board area to read interactive stories with children. These events are taking place a few times a year and are a fun and rewarding experience for all involved!! Children will also be delighted by a visit from the Cat-in-the-Hat!
TLE is looking for family literacy volunteers for these events as well.
The Learning Exchange (TLE) community family literacy project funded through the Programme d’action communautaire sur le terrain de l’éducation (PACTE) from the Ministry of Education, Leisure and Sports was a HUGE success.
Starting last October 2018, in collaboration with key partners, The Learning Exchange (TLE) implemented TLE’s 1000 Books Before Kindergarten reading program in the community. This project will targeted English-speaking families and parents/caregivers to support the development of language and literacy skills of families to help their young children develop language skills and learn the early literacy skills needed for success in school.
Developing Pre-Reading Skills
Studies have shown that children who enter kindergarten with essential pre-reading skills have an advantage. They start school ready to read and have greater success throughout their school years. Children who enter kindergarten performing below their peers can suffer the effects of falling behind, which can be devastating to a child. Reading regularly with young children supports brain development and strengthens parent-child relationships. Reading aloud with children is the single most important activity to prepare children to learn to read because they will build awareness of phonemes, language, literacy and social skills. Reading together provides an opportunity for bonding and creating lifelong memories. By reading together parents and caregivers are teaching their children “how a book works”, growing their vocabulary and instilling a love of reading. It benefits the family as a whole because it involves them in their children’s early education and develops literacy within the family unit.
The concept of the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten was to encourage, motivate, challenge and support families and children to read 1000 books before a child enters kindergarten. Reading regularly will expose children to a large variety of text which in turn, exposes them to a wide range of vocabulary and stories. The program is self-paced and can take anywhere from a few months to a few years depending on how often you read together. Parents can read anything their child enjoys! This approach empowers families as first educators, builds strengths and offers fun and creative family literacy moments.
Through the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten initiative TLE encouraged, motivated and supported families to read 1000 books to their children before kindergarten through presentations, workshops, parent meet ups and social media. TLE distributed 1000’s of free books to families, promoted the Laval Advantage card and ensured greater access to a collection of high-quality English children’s books through collaboration with the Laval libraries and the distribution of library book boxes within the community. Parents were given the tools, resources and information to increase their level of comfort in dealing with literacy in the home environment. This approach empowers families as first educators, builds upon strengths and offers fun and creative family literacy moments for the whole family.
The Learning Exchange is happy to be working with a new organization to bring literacy to families in the Laval area. We had a feature article in the Winter 2018/19 newsletter and continue to work together. QFHSA is donating new and used books for us to distribute to families in our community.
Storyline Online is available 24 hours a day for children, parents, caregivers and educators worldwide. Each book includes supplemental curriculum developed by a credentialed elementary educator, aiming to strengthen comprehension and verbal and written skills for English-language learners.
The most important thing we can do to nurture our little ones is to talk with them. Let them hear our voice reading aloud to build lots of brain connections. Plus, reading aloud helps to connect and bond with our babies. ~ Growing Book By Book