Reading Activity Calendar

January

1New Year’s DayIt’s the beginning of a new year. Ask your child and other family members what they’d like to accomplish this year, from taking a special vacation to learning a new sport.
2More New Year’sLearn how different cultures celebrate New Year’s with “New Clothes for New Year’s Day” by Hyun-joo bae or “Bringing in the New Year” by Grace Lin.
3Festival of Sleep DayWho wouldn’t like this day? Curl up with your child, a blanket and a good book and nod off after reading for a while.
4Spaghetti DayMany children are big fans of spaghetti. Talk about different kinds of pasta, like macaroni, penne, fusilli, and alphabet pasta.
5Super ShadowsPlace a large sheet over a table so that it hangs down around the table. Show your child how to use a flashlight safely. Invite him to go into his cave under the table to make shadows. Use words like dark, light, bright, night, shine, and shadow. Notice words that rhyme like light, night, and bright. Add small toys and encourage him to make shadow shapes in his cave. Notice words that start with the same sound like shine, shape, and shadow.
6Pots and Pans MusicWhile you work in the kitchen you can keep your baby close. Give her some light pots and pans of different sizes. Then give her a wooden spoon. She can make music while you use words like loud, soft, bang, and tap. Show her what the words mean by using your body and voice too. For example, when you say “That’s so loud!” cover your ears. When you say “That’s so soft!” speak in a whisper.
7Scrubbing bubblesOlder children love to help with washing dishes. Provide a stool for your child at the sink. Give him the dish soap and read the label together. For example, one phrase may be “Avoid contact with eyes.” Explain what that means. Then, tell him and show him the steps for washing a dish (remove fragile items). For example: 1) Put water in the sink; 2) Add dish soap; 3) Scrub the dish; 4) Rinse the soap off; and 5) Place the dish in the drainer. Later, during a family conversation, encourage him to explain the steps for washing dishes.
8Rock and Roll DayCelebrate by turning up your child’s favorite music — loud! — and sing along together. If you can, print out the words and read along.
9National Write a Letter of Appreciation WeekWho in you and your child’s life could use a nice letter? The cafeteria or janitorial workers at your child’s school, the mailman, the server at your favorite restaurant, a neighbor who helps you out. Sit down together and write notes, and mail them or deliver them in person.
10Sorting SocksWhile you fold laundry, put your child in charge of matching the socks. “Now you can match the socks in pairs.” Invite him to make a plan to do it. “How do you think we should start?” Tell him and show him how to separate different colors and sort them into piles. Next, tell him and show him how to put socks together that look the same. Remind him to compare the size and the design of each sock as he puts them together.
11Amelia Earhart DayLegendary aviator Amelia Earhart was born on this day in 1897. Look for books on Amelia at the library, like “A Picture Book of Amelia Earhart” by David A. Adler or “Who Was Amelia Earhart” by Kate Boehm Jerome.
12Secret Pal DayOrganize a group of your child’s friends or classmates, and write everyone’s name down and put it in a hat. Each child draws a name (make sure no one draws their own), and that name is their new secret pal. Have each child write their secret pal a note or a drawing, and then exchange them. You can reveal who the secret pals are, or you can keep the mystery going for another activity!
13Fun with BooksMalls often have bookstores with a large children’s section. Sometimes there are chairs to sit in while you read. Find a simple board book. First look at the cover and tell your child what the book is about. Encourage your toddler to turn the pages as you read. When you get to the end of the book say “the end!”
14Buying ShoesThe next time you go shoe shopping, explain what you are looking for so your child can help you. “You need new sneakers. You said you wanted green ones.” As you look at the sneakers, use words that describe how they are the same or different – colors, styles, and sizes. Some are small, some are medium, and some are large. “What size do you need?” As she tries a pair on, use words that describe the parts of shoes and feet. “Push your foot in all the way up to the toe. Push your heel down. Pull up the tongue. Let’s fasten the Velcro.”
15MLK BirthdayMartin Luther King Jr. was born on this day in 1929. Read more about his life with “Martin’s Big Words” by Bryan Collier or “Happy Birthday Martin Luther King Jr.” by Jean Marzollo.
16Fun in the Bath with LabelsBefore you wash your child’s hair, show her the shampoo bottle. Explain that the label gives information about what is in the bottle, the ingredients. It also gives directions on how to use the shampoo. Look at the label together. Notice and describe the pictures and designs. Then read some of the words. If your child shows interest, look for labels on other bath items like soap and toothpaste. Connect the idea of labels to other experiences. Did he see labels on the food at the grocery store?
17Benjamin Franklin’s BirthdayKids will love hearing about Benjamin Franklin and his many inventions and ideas. Try “Now and Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin” by Gene Barretta and “The Amazing Life of Benjamin Franklin” by James Cross Giblin.
18Winnie the Pooh DayWinnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne was born on this day in 1882. Read the classic book with your child and his favorite teddy bear.
19Popcorn DayCelebrate by making popcorn with your child and tossing into each other’s mouth. Every time you toss, say a letter of the alphabet, and the other tosser says the next letter.
20Water StoriesWith a few simple objects, your child can use her imagination to create her own story. These objects may be anything in the tub- a rubber duck, a washcloth, and even her own body! Her knee can be a mountain, her hand can be a wave-maker, or her foot can be a rock in the water. You start the story by saying “Once upon a time there was a rubber duck that went mountain climbing.” Encourage your child to make up the next sentence. Take turns making up sentences for as long as you both want. Then make an ending for the story. As your child gets practice, she will create more and more of the story by herself.
21Guess What ShoePlay a guessing game with your child in the shoe store. You start first. “Look at those boots. I think a person wears those in the rain.” Then invite your child to play. Point to a different type of shoe and ask “where do you think a person wears those shoes?” Confirm your child’s answer by saying “Yes, those are slippers, a person wears those at bedtime.” Or, you may say “No, I think those are sandals. A person wears those in the summer.” When your child gets used to the game, have some fun with it. Point to a pair of high heels and say “I think a person wears those to work in the garden. What do you think?”
22How’s the Water?As your child becomes more independent at bath time you will want to teach her tub safety rules. At the same time, you can introduce the idea of water temperature. Explain that temperature means how hot or cold the water is. Show her how to turn the water on carefully and test the temperature before she gets in the tub. Introduce words like cool, warm, and tepid. Use comparison words like cooler/colder and warmer/hotter. If she is very interested you can use a thermometer to figure out the most comfortable temperature for her bath!
23Pie DayTalk about different kinds of pie with your child, like apple, cherry, blueberry, lemon, chocolate, and coconut cream. Which of these pies would your child like best? Then bake it together, reading the recipe out loud and talking about each step.
24Square Dance DayHave a square dance in your living room with your child. Make signs together that say “Square Dance” and “Swing your partner!” Let your child do as much of the writing and decorating as possible. Then turn up the music and get to dancing (even if you don’t really know how to square dance)!
25Make a BookGive your child some paper and markers or crayons. Invite her to write a story about a favorite activity, for example, playing at the park. First, talk with her about what she did. “First you played baseball with your friends. Then we looked at trees and collected leaves.” Then help her put each activity into the story. Use words like begin and end. “How will you begin the story?” When she is finished encourage her to number the pages and decorate the cover. Help her to write her name on the cover using the words author and illustrator.
26Fun with BooksSpend a relaxed time in the children’s section at the mall bookstore. Pull out a picture book that looks interesting. Show your child the cover of the book and read the title, and the names of the author, and illustrator. Flip through the book slowly from beginning to end. Invite your child to make up the story by “reading” the pictures. Then read the story to your child.
27Soapy LettersDuring bath time, you can wash your child’s back and play a fun letter game at the same time. Tell him that you will use your finger to trace a letter on his back. Start with a familiar letter, like the first letter in his name. Trace the letter, very large, on his back. Then ask him to guess what letter you traced. As he gets better at this game, try different letters. If you have more than one child in the tub at the same time, they can trace letters on each other’s backs.
28Puzzle DaySit down with your child and complete a crossword puzzle together.
29Fast and SlowWhile you’re in the car, you can use the motion of the vehicle to help your child learn describing words. As the car moves, change the sound of your voice. For example, as the car or bus speeds up, you can say “Fast, fast!” as you say the words fast. As the car or bus slows down, you can say “Slow, s…l…o…w” as you make your voice very slow. As your child gets used to these words, try new words like “rapid,” “quick,” and “turning.”
30What’s That Letter?You can use the computer keyboard and a word program to help your child learn letters and letter sounds. Remind your child that on the computer the letters are all mixed up. They are not in the same order as in the alphabet. Help him find the letters in his name. Then encourage him to type his name one letter at a time. Remind him to be gentle when he pushes the keys. Then you can let him experiment with typing on his own.
31Is It on the List?At the grocery store, let your child carry the shopping list as you shop. She can read off the names for items you need. If you give her a pen, she can also cross items off the list as you put them in the cart. If you don’t have a shopping list, your child can use the receipt in the same way. While you put each item away at home, ask your child to find the name of the item on the receipt and cross it out.
PBS KIDS: Raising Readers