Holiday Reading and Writing

The Christmas holidays are nearly here and can be a constant juggling act with going on day trips, travelling interstate and abroad or visiting relatives but at the same time wanting to support your child with their reading and writing progress over the holidays. It is really important to encourage children to continue with their literacy development over the holidays with activities that are enjoyable and foster a love of literacy. If you are interested in some ideas for keeping up with reading and writing in the holidays, please read on and you may find a few easy and worthwhile tips.

  1. Visit your local library. It's free and children love choosing their own books to read. If the book your child chooses is too tricky for them to read independently then read it to them or share the reading. Local libraries have lots of free eBooks to borrow and read as well. Many libraries offer free storytelling events and Christmas activities so look out for these.
  2. Create a reading space. Children love creating their own space, such as a cubby, tent or hideout with sheets draped across chairs, to take their books into to read. It's exciting to read by torch light also!
  3. Read to other members of the family. Children love to share their reading skills with family members so if you are visiting family then take reading books with you so someone different can say how proud they are hearing your child read.
  4. Family meal times. Often during holidays, families spend longer over meal times or may visit a restaurant or café. Read a menu together whilst you are choosing what to eat or read the cereal packet at breakfast. Or if you have friends visiting for a meal then children can make the name places or a menu for the table.
  5. Postcards and cards. During the Christmas holidays, enjoy opening the mail together to read Christmas card and postcards or letters and reading emails from family and friends. Don't forget to send return mail as well whether it is by post or using technology.
  6. Holiday scrapbook. During the holidays, ask the children to collect items of interest and stick them in a scrapbook or write a holiday diary or start a blog about their holiday. As they glue the items in or write in their diaries, chat about your child's choices and favourite things to do. They will have created a book fully of happy memories that can be read over and over again. When the school begins in 2019, your child may love to share about their holidays with their classmates.
  7. Cook a favourite dish. Find a recipe together to cook for family or friends, read the list of ingredients together, visit the shops and read the aisles and food labels, and then support your child to read the instructions as you make your favourite meal together. This may become a family tradition.
  8. Play outside. All children love to play outside on large play equipment. When you are in the garden or at the local park, don't forget to play some fun games, like Eye Spy. As your child comes down the slide or swinging on a swing ask: What does slide start with? What is a word beginning with 't'? What is a word that rhymes with 'joy'?
  9. Out and about. When travelling, encourage your child to help with directions, looking out for road signs and talking about how long they will travel or how far they have left. Reading timetables is also a great skill to develop – bus and train – and this will encourage their independence as well.
  10. Shop. When doing the weekly shop, encourage your child to help by writing and reading the list as well as finding the products in store, in catalogues and online.
  11. Create. If your child enjoys making their own stories, encourage this by using Book Creator to help them design their own picture book, either fiction or non-fiction. These digital texts can be kept and shared with others or your child could read the instructions for creating Christmas craft to decorate the house for Christmas.
  12. Share. If your child is reading a chapter book, consider reading the same book at the same time – this gives you a chance to compare your impressions of the book and talk about the plot and themes together. Ask your child questions e.g. which character they liked best, who would they like to be? They could even write a short quiz about the book to check you've read it properly!
 
The long Christmas holidays can really make a difference to children's writing and reading progress. Hope these tips prove helpful and most of all provide enjoyable, memorable times for everyone!
 
Karen Jeffery - Primary Learning Leader