Reading Activity Calendar

December

1Eat a Red Apple DayCelebrate this day by eating an apple with your child and using words to describe how it tastes — juicy, delicious, crisp, etc.
2Handwashing Awareness WeekWalk your child through a good hand wash, talking about each step as you go, from turning on the faucet, using soap, working up a lather, and rinsing off.
3More HandwashingHave your child make a sign — using words and pictures, or just pictures — showing the steps of hand washing.
4Read a New Book MonthVisit the library (or borrow a book from a friend) and pick out a few new books with your child. Pick up a new book for yourself, as well, so your child knows that you read, too.
5International Volunteer DayIn honor of this day and the holiday season, pick a volunteer activity to do with your child, like donating old coats or food. Make a list with your child of all the ways you can help.
6Stress Free Family Holiday MonthInstead of doing all the holiday cards or letters yourself, make it a family project. Children old enough to write should sign their own names with a short message, and younger children can draw pictures. Have hot chocolate and festive music to make the time go by quickly.
7More Stress FreeThe holiday season gets chaotic. Make a point of having an hour of quiet reading time as a family each night, either reading together or alone but in the same room.
8More Stress FreeTake time with your child to make simple sugar cookies. Using cookie cutters or a knife, make them into holiday shapes or letters which you can use to “write” little messages.
9International Children’s Day of BroadcastingToday broadcasters around the world are showing quality programming for or about children. Sit down with your child to watch a favorite PBS KIDS show. Afterward, visit pbskids.org to play a game from the show’s website.
10Melvil Dewey’s BirthdayThe creator of Dewey Decimal System was born in this day in 1851. Visit the library and practice finding books together. Many libraries now use computerized systems rather than card catalogs. Ask a librarian for help or a quick lesson.
11Pilgrims Land at Plymouth RockLearn more about pilgrims with “Magic Tree House Research Guide: Pilgrims” by Mary Pope Osborne or “The Land of the Pilgrims” by James Daugherty.
12Hi Neighbor MonthWith your child, write a friendly note to your neighbors, especially ones you don’t know as well.
13Ice Cream and Violins DayOn this silly holiday, grab a bowl of ice cream with your child and listen to a recording (either on CD or online) that includes a violin. For something holiday-themed, try Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.”
14What’s That?Images on T.V. can be confusing for young children. Scenes change quickly and sometimes children need help to understand the story. When your child watches a show, help her connect characters and events. For example, you may say “There’s that monkey again.” Connect each event to things that already happened. For example, you may say “He’s the one that took the balloons and caused all that trouble!”
15More What’s That?While you’re watching a show, wonder out loud about what will happen next, for example, “I wonder what trouble he’s going to get into now?” Have your child predict and brainstorm, even if you’ve already watched this particular episode.
16More What’s That?If you’ve watched a show several times, ask your child questions about the show. “What’s that character’s name?” “What color is his shirt?” “Where is he now?” Allow your child to explain things in his own way.
17First Flight by Wright BrothersThe Wright brothers took their first flight in an aircraft that could be controlled in 1903. Ask your child what he could like to invent. Would it be something that could fly? Or go underwater? Maybe to outerspace? Have him draw a picture of his invention as well.
18What Was It About?After your child watches a T.V. show, talk to him about it. What was his favorite part? Who was his favorite character?
19More What Was It About?Help your child relate the story to his own life. “Did something like that ever happen to you?” “Did you feel the same way the character on the show did?” and “Did you do the same thing the character in the show did, or did you do something different?” Remember to give your child plenty of time to think about the questions.
20NumbersThe remote control for the T.V. has numbers on it and so does the computer keyboard. Use these items to help your child recognize numbers in a meaningful way. For example, when his favorite show is on T.V. he can help you find the correct channel number on the remote control.
21First Day of WinterMake a list of your favorite winter activities, like sledding or ice skating. What is your child most looking forward to this winter? Have him draw a picture of a winter day and then describe what’s happening.
22Hanukkah BeginsLearn more about Hanukkah with your child with “The Festival of Lights by Maida or “Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah by Wendy Wax.
23More HanukkahFind the lyrics to the classic Hanukkah song “I Have a Little Driedel” and teach it to your child. Then sing together!
24Christmas EveRead the Christmas classic “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
25ChristmasRead the classic “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.
26What Does the Recipe Say?Ask your child to help prepare the meal. If you use a recipe, show your child the words. Explain that the recipe gives directions for how to make the meal. Read the name of each ingredient out loud as you put it on the table. “Let’s see. The recipe says we need spinach; we have spinach. It says we need cheese. We have cheese.” Read each direction out loud. Tell and show your child what you want her to do. “The recipe says to mix all the ingredients. Will you mix all the ingredients like this?”
27Family RecipeMany meals we make don’t come from recipes. Your child can make a recipe card for a simple meal, for example “How to make a peanut butter sandwich.” Give your child paper and crayons and ask her to draw each step as you make the sandwich. Help her say the important words slowly, like spread for example. She can try to write it by listening to the sounds of the letters, s-p-r-ea-d. You can help her notice silent letters like the “a” in spread. “The word spread is like the word bread. Both of those words have an ‘a’ that doesn’t make any sound.”
28More Family RecipeIf she likes this activity, she can make a whole set of recipes. Have her divide the recipes into categories like breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and snacks.
29Let’s Eat OutAt a restaurant your child learns how to order food. He also learns proper restaurant behavior. Show your child the menu and tell him what things he may choose from. Explain how he will order from the waitress. For example, “I would like a tuna sandwich please.” At the end of the meal, show him the bill. Point out his sandwich and the price. Remind him to say goodbye “Thank you. My tuna sandwich was delicious.”
30More Let’s Eat OutIt takes a lot of people to operate a restaurant. Talk about the different jobs people can have in a restaurant, like being a server, hostess, cook, or busboy.
31New Year’s EveIt’s the last day of this year. Take out the calendar and look through it with your child, explaining the different months and seasons. Talk about different milestones during the year, like birthdays, the beginning of school, and holidays.
PBS KIDS: Raising Readers