Monday, December 12, 2011

How to get your children to keep reading and writing over the winter break.

I have fond memories as a child of winter break, from staying up to late to reading good books.  I even practiced writing my name.  I also watched way to much T.V.  but I also spent time with my family.  But I thought I would share some great ways to help your children to keep reading and writing over the break but to make them fun.
  • Have you children make and write thank you cards.  I hate to say but this isn't something that I have done in the past and regret doing.  It wasn't something I was raised to do.  But this year we are starting it.  A few days after Christmas have your children start making thank you cards and help them write out a little note thanking the family member for their gift.  This lets them be creative by making the card, also thoughtful about the person that got them a gift, and it has them work on their writing skills.
  •  Read holiday themed or any book aloud.   Reading out loud to your children is a great thing to do.  Even if you read just one short book to them it will help.  Did you know reading to children is something that less and less people are doing these days?  I don't like to read out loud but it's my goal to do it more.  Also have your child read to you as well.  This will help them with their reading skills and it will make them feel special.
  • Write a winter break journal.  This is something great for those older children, just pick up a simple notebook or a nice special one and suggest that before bed they just write about their day, or their thoughts.  If they are really stuck (this is stolen from my step mom) have them write 5 things that they are grateful for that day.  These can be as big or as little as they want.  This could be fun and really get them thinking.
  •  Have them help with the holiday menu.  My children love to help be it from reading a recipe to me to helping measure out ingredients for recipes.  This also helps with math skills.  Also having them follow the step in order teaches them following directions as well.  It's great how something so simple has baking cookies can be so educational.  You can also have them make menus for the holiday meal let them write out what your having and decorate them.  They can then put them on the holiday table.
  • Have them help with the grocery list.  Before that last big shopping trip to the store for the holidays let your child help with the list.  Have them write out a part of the list for something that they want to make with you.  Like the items for making cookies.  And then make it their job to pick up those items at the store with your help.  This helps them with writing skills and their reading once they are the stop.  This would also be a great time to teach them about reading labels on products as well.
  • Write their own holiday story.  Gather up some supplies to make your own book and have your child write their own holiday story.  This would be a great thing to do year have year and to save them.   And every year they can be one of the holiday stories that your read out loud during the holiday break.
  •  Scrapbooking.  Now this isn't something that I have done in a long time but it is something I found fun.  You can have your children help you scrapbook your Christmas memories.  This lets them be creative and you can encourage them to write the captions on the pages which will work on their writing skill.
  • Take a trip or two to the library.  I know everyone loves the feel a of new book.  I know that I do.  But there is something about a library and a child that is wonderful.  My children love love love the library.  To them it's like going to the store and really we sign out like every book we can and they read at least ten while we are there.  So take your child get them their own card if you can and teach them the love of the library.  Also find out about the library's story hours and holiday break programs.  They may have some that are fun and your child would like to try out.
  • Don't be afraid of tech.  I know that there are children out there that think tech is the coolest thing in the world and the only thing that matters and that reading is boring.  I have a child like this.  I got him to love reading by putting his books on my ereader (I have a sony so pdf files work great for this).  I am also using it as a teaching tool.  There are many of the classics out there free like Alice in Wonderland, Robin Hood, White Fang and many more.  Also many of the bi g stores and ereader companies have software you can download on to the computer to read ebooks. Here is Nook for the PC, Kindle for PC, and Sony.  Some free classics to get you going. Free from Kindle, Nook, and Sony.  Other than a quick glance I didn't see tons for kinds but you can also barrow ebooks from the library so please look into that but this is a great start with the classics and some books for those older children in your home.  And some fun for yourself as well.
Now I am sure there are other ideas out there that I forgot.   I hope that this is a great jumping off point for you.  Reading is such a great thing and books are a great adventure parents and children alike.  I hope you have a great holiday season and winter break.

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