December sometimes feels like a whirlwind; there are concerts, parties, and lots of interruptions to your normal schedules and routines. Trying to keep your students engaged and while getting through the content that you need to cover is tough, but you've got this! While it is a wild few weeks, you can keep your students engaged and excited about learning…yes!! You can! Take a peek at some of my favorite books and activities, and you'll be one step ahead! There are so many amazing activities read-aloud books to share to keep your students engaged through the excitement of the month.
During the month of December, sitting with your class and reading aloud always helps to bring some calm to the craziness but also opens up some amazing conversations because, well, holiday books have some pretty amazing themes. Here are some of my favorite activities to do and books to read aloud in December…
Favorite December Read Aloud Books
1.The Smallest Gift of Christmas by Peter Reynolds
This tiny book brings a big message. You’ll love discussing gift-giving and receiving, the importance of staying humble and gracious, and what’s most important during the holidays with this sweet book.
2.Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story by Albert Whitman
The illustrations add to the beauty of the story of “Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story.” Using the seven principles of Kwanzaa, the author tells a story of family coming together and the power of community. This is a great book to share the principles of Kwanzaa and the true meaning of the holiday season.
3.The Snowman by Briggs
I love, love, love wordless picture books!! There are so many possibilities when students have the ability to create a story in their minds through illustrations. This book is great to read to create a story together or to use the illustrations as winter writing prompts for your students.
4.How to Catch an Elf by Adam Wallace
“How to Catch…” books are always a favorite because of their fun themes and rhymes. This one is especially cute for the holiday season and is perfect for a fun STEM activity too! Your kids will love it!
5.The Carpenter’s Gift by David Rubel
“The Carpenter's Gift” is such a beautiful story. There are some books that you read and you just know immediately that the quotes and moments will lend themselves to some really amazing conversations and allow your students to create some really special writing of their own.
“The Carpenter’s Gift” has so many amazing moments but there are two quotes that really stood out to me as a reader, and I’m sure they’ll make your students think too. “The best presents are the ones you don’t expect” and “If ever there were a magical moment, this is it” are two quotes from the story that are sure to spark your student's thinking.
You can subscribe below for free activities to go along with this book.
6.The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston
Get your tissues ready! “The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree” is one you one forget! I could not make it through this story fast enough to get to the end…in a good way! It is such a beautiful story with so many amazing conversation starters.
7.Red and Lulu by Matt Tavares
I just love, love, love this story! You have to root for Red and Lulu and your students will love their story too. This is a must-read for me in December! “Red and Lulu” will quickly become one of your favorites too!
8. Mooseletoe by Margie Palatini
I mean…the title is “Mooseltoe,” what's not to love already? It's a fun read for you and your students and can turn into a fun art project too!
9. Olive, the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh
Your students will love Olive and you will love how Olive does not give up and finds her way when she feels like she doesn’t belong. It is a super cute story that your students will absolutely love!
10. Light the Lights by Margaret Moorman
This is a great book that captures the beauty of family traditions and celebrates families that may honor more than one holiday in their home. Many students can probably relate to the traditions shared in “Light the Lights.”
11. Snow Day by Lester Laminack
With December comes snow! Well, maybe, depending on where you are…but around here, December means snow. And many times lots of it. And that means SNOW DAYS! Woo hoo! Everyone's favorite, right? This book is always fun to read when there is snow in the forecast! Pssst…It’s ok to share your love of snow days with your kids! And if you have a snow day, you can do a fun writing activity and write about all the fun you had on your day off!
12.The Little Reindeer by Nicola Killen
“The Little Reindeer” is such a sweet story with beautiful illustrations that will capture your reader's attention. They will love the story of the little lost reindeer and its adventures.
13. How Santa Got His Job by Stephen Krensky
This is such a fun book with so many different writing activities you can tie to it! Your students will love hearing all about how Santa got his job and all of the jobs that he tried before landing the one he was made for! You can have students make “Wanted” ads looking for Santa, have them create a resume for Santa, or so many fun ideas to go along with the story!
14.The Wish Tree by Kyo Maclear
I love this sweet story. You can have your students create a wish and discuss how a wish can be more than just material things. It is sometimes hard for students to think beyond “things” when we ask them to think of things that they want or things they wish for. This is a great activity to think beyond the materialism of the season and more so the spirit of giving.
You can subscribe below for free activities to go along with this book.
15. Pick a Pine Tree by Patricia Toht
Picking a tree can be a fun tradition and “Pick a Pine Tree” can help students think about their own family traditions and celebrations. You can discuss what a tradition is, how each family may celebrate differently, why traditions are important, and how we honor them. You can grab a free template for holiday traditions below!
16. Oskar and the Eight Blessings by Richard Simon
Sometimes Amazon suggests books that I would like and I have to wonder, does Amazon really know me or what? Lol! Because when this one popped up, I immediately added it to my cart. If you read one book this season, let this be IT! It is a beautiful story that will teach your students to find blessings all around them, in the everyday happenings that we may not notice. Such a beautiful story, one you won't want to miss this year.
17. Blizzard by John Rocco
I love this book so much…it reminds me of so many snowstorms that I've been through, young and old, and the excitement that is felt! There is amazingly descriptive language and it is a great mentor text for narrative writing. Especially if you're in the midst of a snowstorm.
Favorite December/Winter Activities
1. Holiday Traditions
Before the craziness of the holiday season sets in, you can have students write about some of their own holiday traditions. This simple activity can give you a good idea of the different holidays or celebrations that your students honor. This allows you to plan your lessons throughout the month to be inclusive of your student's traditions. It is also a great way to get to know your students.
You can subscribe below for this free activity.
2. Reindeer Wanted
I love incorporating fun activities that still cover important skills…and students LOVE writing a job description for a reindeer to take Rudolph's place when Rudolph is sick on Christmas Eve. You can find this writing activity HERE.
3. Life in a Snow Globe
This is always a winter writing favorite! Students can write an imaginative story about life in a snow globe. This makes a great display that you can keep up through winter! Win, win!! Students complete amazing writing and you don't have to change the bulletin board before break! You can find this writing activity HERE.
4. Gingerbread House for Sale
Another great writing activity for the holiday season is a persuasive writing activity where students try to sell their gingerbread house. It is a fun activity that helps students learn important parts of persuasive writing. You can find this writing activity HERE.
5. Holiday Inferences
Inferences can be a tricky concept. But, making a wish list and making inferences about each other's likes and hobbies can make inferences a little more fun! You can grab this activity HERE.
6. Holidays Around the World
I love making foldable books and each of these holidays has a short reading passage and a foldable book to accompany it. Students love making their own small books and they are jam-packed with content! Two pages hold a lot of info when you fold them into little books! They are low prep and perfect for the busy holiday season. You can find the pack of six reading passages and books HERE.
7. December Themed Close Reading
To take a break from all of the holiday shenanigans, December is also filled with some really interesting dates and historical events. I have four close reading passages that are December-themed and will keep your students interested and engaged. You can find these close reading passages HERE.
I hope you found some great new books and activities for December. The month seems to fly by, but it can still be fun and meaningful too! Don't forget to embrace the chaos and enjoy this time with your students…they are only little once and they get to be little with you!
Shop all of the resources in this post here:
Christmas Activity | Reading Passage & Writing Prompts$2.50
Kwanzaa Activity | Reading Passage & Writing Prompts$2.50
Hanukkah Activity | Reading Passage & Writing Prompts$2.50
Las Posadas Activity | Reading Passage & Writing Prompts$2.50
Santa Lucia Day Activity | Reading Passage & Writing Prompts$2.50
Snow Day Writing Activities, Snow Day Foldable Book$2.00
Making Inferences Christmas Holiday Inferencing Activity$3.75
Close Reading Passages & Activities for December$5.25
Winter Writing Activity Snow Globe Writing Prompt$4.50
Holidays Around the World Digital & Printable Bundle$8.25
Winter Writing & Holiday Writing Activities Bundle$13.50
Winter, Holiday Writing Prompt-Gingerbread House for Sale$4.50
Christmas Descriptive Holiday Writing: Reindeer Wanted$4.50
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You might also be interested in reading my gift-giving guide for teacher gifts. You can check it out HERE.