The holidays are filled with family, celebration and gift giving. Why not put literacy at the top of your holiday list? It’s a great time of year to build the kind of love of literacy that will last life-long.
Valley of the Sun United Way offers simple holiday-inspired tips to talk and read your way through the holiday season. Literacy is the foundation for a child’s success in school and life.
Talk and Read: Holiday celebrations build vocabulary and improve your child’s literacy skills.
• Talk and share as you open gifts together and experience new holiday activities.
• Read recipes together as you bake holiday goodies and meals.
• Review photo albums as you tell stories about holiday memories of years past.
• Create a home-made scrap book and talk about your favorite holiday memory. It can be a fun, free craft project: Use ads you receive in the mail and new photos or drawings.
Play Literacy Games: Rev up your holiday fun with games that highlight literacy.
• Play traditional games like Scrabble, Hangman, Word Search and the Hungry Caterpillar.
• Cut letters or words out of ads you receive, and match new words with the objects.
• Create your own Mad Libs: Write a short story but leave several blanks for nouns, verbs and adjectives you have family or friends provide. Once the blanks are filled in, read the story.
• Write or tell a holiday story together: Players take turns to write or tell a unique sentence, and see how creative your story becomes.
Share Books: There are many fun ways to share love of literacy by making books a favorite gift.
• Organize a children’s book swap with friends, family and neighbors.
• Countdown to the holiday with a unique library book each day.
• Give books as holiday gifts, game prizes or stocking stuffers.
• Hunt for book “treasures” at libraries, and used or new book stores.
Write Holiday Greetings: Improve literacy as you share your holiday spirit and gratitude.
• Have your children draw and write holiday cards for close family and friends.
• Help your child write or draw a thank you letter for gifts they’ve received.
• Write or talk through new alternative endings to favorite holiday books.
• Write a journal together and capture holiday memories.
Print the list of tips in English and Spanish.
Brooke Toles-Johnson leads Valley of the Sun United Way’s Read On Greater Phoenix initiative to build proficient readers by third grade. Her passion for literacy unfolded prior to joining United Way. Previously, she served as the Program Director for a statewide literacy program in Oregon and provided leadership and guidance for school programs in 32 counties, serving 11, 000 children annually.