There are two sides to the holidays:
1. Quiet moments spent together as a family. Lessons are shared, and memories are created as parents pass on meaningful traditions to their children.
2. A frenzy of wrapping paper, ever-growing wish lists, and fits of jealousy, greed, and overconsumption.
As a society, we’re quickly losing sight of the first. But there’s one tradition that can bring it back into focus: reading aloud to your children.
Let’s explore the incredible benefits of reading aloud to kids, practical tips to make holiday reading enjoyable, and an exciting list of recommended children’s books for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa.
5 Incredible Benefits of Reading Aloud to Children
The benefits of reading aloud to your kids are endless. From cognitive and academic benefits to emotional and social benefits, reading to kids is a gift that lasts a lifetime.
Consider this about reading aloud:
1. Supports Their Cognitive Development.
As you read to your little ones, their brains are hard at work, absorbing language patterns, expanding vocabulary, and developing comprehension
skills. This early exposure to language lays a solid foundation for their academic success.
2. Boosts Their Listening & Concentration Skills.
In a world filled with distractions, good listeners are becoming more and more rare. One study showed that reading to kids at a young age is associated with lower aggression, attention, and hyperactivity issues.
Reading captivates your children’s attention, teaching them to focus on a story, follow a narrative, and absorb information. These skills can extend beyond storytime, benefiting them in school and everyday life.
3. Lifts Moods & Releases Stress for Everyone.
The holiday season can be hectic. Life in general can be stressful.
One of the benefits of reading aloud to kids is that it offers them a precious opportunity to unwind. Your words can create a peaceful atmosphere, relieving stress for them and, as a result, reducing stress for you, too.
4. Inspires a Life-Long Love of Reading.
When you share your love of books with your kids, you pass on their benefits, too. Research shows this can help your children better understand their world and develop healthy social skills and coping mechanisms.
This gift will accompany them throughout their lives, providing a wholesome hobby and countless hours of enjoyment and knowledge.
5. Creates a Special Bond & Memories to Cherish.
Beyond the educational benefits, reading to kids nurtures a special bond between you and your child. Sharing stories creates precious moments that will be treasured for years to come.
Why Should You Be Reading to Kids During the Holidays?
The benefits of reading aloud shine even brighter during the holidays. With the magic of the holidays as your backdrop, this time of year is a wonderful opportunity to spark your child’s love for reading and sharing special moments together.
So make it a point to read aloud to your kids this holiday season. When you do, you’ll impact their lives and your family’s experience of the holidays in three amazing ways:
● Instill Real Values in Your Kids.
Holiday children’s books often carry meaningful messages about kindness, generosity, and the true spirit of the season. Reading to kids allows you to impart valuable lessons beyond the pages of a book, shaping your child’s character and understanding of the world
● Slow Down & Escape the Holiday Chaos.
Amid the chaos of holiday preparation, reading to kids gives you the chance to slow down and savor the moment. It’s a ‘pause button’ that allows the family to come together, creating a sense of peace amidst the whirlwind.
● Spend Time Together & Create Meaningful Traditions.
Reading to kids during the holidays can become a cherished tradition. Whether a classic tale or a new one, the shared experience becomes a thread weaving through your family’s favorite holiday memories.
How Can You Make Reading to Kids Fun at the Holidays?
Ready to start reading? You can enjoy the benefits of reading aloud to your kids by leaning into the holiday spirit:
● Set a Holiday Reading Countdown Goal.
Build anticipation by setting a holiday reading countdown goal. Create a festive calendar, and mark each day leading up to the holiday with a special story. This can build excitement while setting up a habit for the new year.
● Embrace the Holiday Spirit.
Pick out holiday-themed books together! Dim the lights, light a few candles, and maybe even indulge in some seasonal treats. Creating a cozy and festive atmosphere enhances the magic of storytelling.
● Bring Your Books to Life.
Engage your child’s imagination by bringing the stories to life. Watch movies, bake goodies, dress up, or do crafts based on the books you read together. Keep talking about the stories, even after you finish reading.
● Create a Holiday Reading Nook.
Designate a special reading nook for the holiday season. Decorate it with twinkling lights, festive pillows, and blankets to make it a warm, inviting space. This dedicated corner adds a touch of magic while still enjoying all the benefits of reading aloud.
12 Amazing Children’s Books for the Holidays
Looking for recommendations to help you infuse the power of story into the holiday season? Try these 12 books, suited for young children and specially curated to enhance the spirit of the season.
● “Luna Loves Christmas” – Joseph Coelho
● “The Night Before Christmas” – Clement C. Moore
● “The Christmas Wish” – Lori Evert
● “Christmas in the Manger” – Nola Buck
· “Sadie’s Almost Marvelous Menorah” – Jamie Korngold
● “Hanukkah Bear” – Eric A. Kimmel
● “The Story of Hanukkah” – David A. Handler
● “Latkes, Latkes, Good to Eat: A Chanukah Story” – Naomi Howland
● “My First Kwanzaa” – Karen Katz
● “Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa” – Donna L. Washington
● “Together for Kwanzaa” – Juwanda G. Ford
● “My Family Celebrates Kwanzaa” – Lisa Bullard
Find Free Resources for Reading to Kids
This holiday season, make reading aloud a cherished tradition in your home with the help of Read Aloud America. Whether it’s a classic story or a new holiday-themed adventure, the benefits extend far beyond the pages of a book. Embrace the joy of storytelling, create lasting memories, and instill a love of reading that will warm your hearts for years to come.