15 Holiday Reading Activities for Kids

15 Holiday Reading Activities for Elementary & Kindergarten Students (with holiday worksheets pdf formatted - no-prep!)

(Or very little prep is the goal anyway) Since we mamas and teachers are so very busy during the holidays, we need some great ideas to keep our young readers moving forward to become excellent readers, even when on break. So, be sure to grab these holiday reading activities that can be helpful at home to spur on your child to read.

Some of them include things you are already doing (and didn't know you were!), and some of them can be very targeted to the skills that your beginner needs to improve in.

You can target sight words, phonics, comprehension, fluency, and more while reading at home with your child.

And, when all else fails, break out a good book and just simply READ ALOUD to your kiddo. It will do wonders for their skills in reading!

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holiday reading activities

1. Sight word activity bundles

I'll start with one of the "bundles" that I sell here on My Three Readers! You can grab this set of printables that target Fry's first 100 sight words and work on them through the holidays.

So far included in the bundle are activities for Fall and Winter (holidays), but I'll also be updating with new holidays as the year progresses.

2. Head to the Library

When was the last time you took a leisurely trip to your local library? You can check online (below) to see where yours is, and enjoy all the books and activities that are offered.

Lots of libraries even have classes, and seasonal festivities to get kids stirred up to read. Check yours out!

3. Listen to Audiobooks

Another option to borrow at your library, you can download or stream audiobooks to get reading in. 

You might think that listening to books read aloud is not as good as reading itself, but there are benefits to hearing a great storyteller. Kids who hear books read aloud to them read better in the long run, with better fluency and confidence. 

You can also use Audible as an option for audiobooks (you get a free audiobook every month with it, and a free trial to start). You can also check out my review of Audible here to look more into it.

3. Get family members to read aloud.

Everyone in the family can get involved! Grab grandparents, aunts and uncles to read aloud during the holidays.

It's well-known that pets and animals are calming for kids and people. You can have your child read aloud to the dog and your dog will be a captive audience. 

And don't forget the benefit of an older sibling. Ask an older brother or sister to read aloud to the younger, and then take turns. There are so many benefits to this. It encourages bonding between the kids, patience for the older, encouragement for the younger, and it even takes a little off your plate.


4. Download reading apps on your child's tablet.

If your kiddo has a tablet or device that she uses regularly, take the extra step to download educational apps so that learning can take place while having fun, too.

You can check out my reviews on both ABCmouse for the younger ones learning to read, and also Adventure Academy for the older kids. Both cover reading, math, science and more!


5. When baking and cooking, have your child read aloud from a recipe or cookbook.

Plus, you'll have something yummy to eat afterward. You can cook from your own recipes, or you can grab a kid's cookbook to work from. Here are a few from Amazon you could use:

6. Work on printable phonics activities and word families.

If you have a young reader, chances are that you need to either introduce or keep going over the basic rules of phonics and word building. Here are some great activities from the Playdough to Plato website that you can grab and use with very little prep:

7. Do a "reader's theater" at the dinner table.

Pick a story that your family loves to read. Search online for a script to go along with that story, and then recreate it at home. 

If you can't find a reader's theater script for a story, make up your own, or even just come up with one on the fly.

Bonus points if you find ways to dress up as the character and really get into it!

8. If your family participates in the Advent, choose something your child can read aloud each night.

It can be a simple Scripture each night, or anything short and sweet that is significant to your family. 

You can check out this printable Advent Calendar I created for any family - but actually perfect for beginning readers..

Our family has loved to read the "Jotham" series of a young boy in biblical times who goes on an adventure.

9. Choose book box sets as a gift for your child. 

Not only will these book box subscriptions be fun to receive at home for new reading material each month, but they are a GREAT idea for a gift! Click on the picture below to see what these book box subscriptions are all about, or you can check out this article about the 17 best kids book subscriptions.

10. Head to the local bookstore that has a coffee shop and go on a "book date".

You don't even have to purchase a book (unless you have the budget to treat!). But you can browse around the shop, get an idea of what books your child likes, and what his interests are.

Keep a running list of the books that your child likes, and grab those books from the library next time you head that way.

And then sit down for a nice hot cup of cocoa at the adjoining café. Voila! A wonderful book "date" with your child.


11. Have your child send cards to friends and/or family (and write in the cards).

If you are a family who sends out Christmas cards, or New Year's cards every year, get your child involved in signing the cards and writing a sweet note inside.

You can also teach your student how to send mail, and get your child to use their very best handwriting to address the envelopes.

12. Have your child fill out the "To" and the "From" on the gift tags for presents.

A simple job, but what a help this could be! When you are busy filling out the tags for all the gifts before you head over to Grandma's house, set your child down at the table and practice filling out those gift tags.

And maybe treat with a cookie for a job well done. 🙂 Yum!

You might also like this article!  21 Gift Ideas for Young Readers

13. Turn on the closed-caption option when you watch holiday movies and t.v.

When my husband and I first started having kids, sometimes we wanted to watch a show, but we wanted the room to be silent. So, we would turn the volume down waaay low, and turn on the closed captioning.

If you have never used it before, you think it might be annoying. But after a while, you don't even see it anymore!

And this is a great and super easy way to get kids to associate the printed word with what is being said on the screen. Just something to consider!

14. When travelling, play the alphabet game.

Generally a lot of us like to travel when we get a break during the holidays. Sometimes it's to go visit family or friends, and sometimes it's just to go take a much-needed vacation.

So take advantage of that travel time! And - it doesn't always have to be on a digital device. It can be games that the family can have fun playing together.

One of the classics that our family plays is the alphabet game. Whoever sees and "A" on a sign ahead shouts "A!" and that "A" is taken. Now that person gets to move on to letter "B", but everyone else is still on "A". And sometimes when the kids were a little younger, we'd break it up into teams so that the little ones get some help going through the alphabet. Good times!

15. Choose educational, reading-focused videos for your child's tablet or device.

Most likely, your child will be using a tablet or some device for entertainment over the holiday break. (Here is an article I wrote on which are the best tablets for kids - especially for reading!).

You can bookmark some educational videos on your child's tablet or phone to watch, and they'll be entertained without even knowing that they might be learning something too! Here is a fun one from ABCmouse that you can find straight from YouTube:

Go have a great time on your holiday! Whether it's Christmas winter break, spring break, or summer, if you are purposeful about it, you can definitely get some reading time in with a little bit of creativity.

Have fun reading!


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