Holiday Book Bonanza for Speech and Language Therapy
As December begins, there is a lot of excitement in the air for children and adults. Whether they celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, or another holiday, they often love to talk about their traditions. This is a great time to harness their energy and use it for conversations, boosting confidence, and adding in new seasonal vocabulary. A nice way to do this is to start off the season by sharing some books and using them as your guide.
Selecting a Book
As you have gotten to know the child and their family, pick a book that is sensitive to their beliefs and customs. There are plenty of holiday and winter books that are not religious in nature. Many books celebrate winter, snow, sledding, gingerbread people, and other traditional items. A few suggestions for different holidays and winter reading that will work well with different age groups are:
- The Mitten by Jan Brett – Seasonal favorite that you can reenact with puppets or a craft related to the book. Also introduces winter animals.
- The Gingerbread Man by Jim Aylesworth – Colorful version of the classic tale with text that works well for a read-aloud and fun repetitive cues.
- Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London – Humorous book that will actively engage children into getting dressed to play out in the cold. Fun sounds will add to the engagement and practice repetition.
- Pete the Cat Saves Christmas by Eric Litwin – Pete the Cat is a popular character who has a book about saving Christmas. Pete reminds us to “Give it your all” throughout the text. There is also a music video on YouTube and activities on the
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Rhyming, silly words, and a classic that can be used for discussions, word practice, and more.
- How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah by Jane Yolen – Story for Chanukah with the familiar dinosaurs that children have grown to adore.
- K is for Kwanzaa: A Kwanzaa Alphabet Book by Juwanda G. Ford – Book that shares history and symbols of the Kwanzaa celebration.
- The Snowman by Raymond Briggs – Wordless story that offers a great opportunity for children to tell the tale of the snowman that comes to life.
Also check with families to see if there are special books that may be good to work with. There may be specific folk tales that go along with their cultures.
Extending the Reading
Remember, you can use the books for a book walk (see previous post), create a game focusing on skills around the book, do a craft, or other activities. Make sure to look at the websites from the author and publisher for resources or book extensions. Pinterest also has a lot of ideas that you may be able to use with the book your select. In addition to this, if you have access to a computer or tablet with Internet capability, look on YouTube for book readings, plays, and songs about the book. Do not forget that you can compare their holiday celebrations with those in the books you read and expand on that while allowing children to be proud of their heritage.