Winter break is a couple days away. It’s almost time to celebrate! Before you release your students to make mischief, merriment and hopefully lots of hot chocolate, we urge you to ask them just one question: “Who will read with you over break?” 

Encourage your students to think of the trusted friends or adults in their lives who can read, and then ask them to spend at least 15 minutes a day having one of those people read aloud to them. Communicating this request to your students’ caregivers will help reinforce the message. This activity is quick and simple—as easy as a bedtime story—yet it’s immensely beneficial. Why is being read to so important?

Research supports that those who are read to on a regular basis gain the language and literacy skills required for success in reading more quickly than those who are not. Vocabulary, decoding, and comprehension skills improve; and most importantly, reading becomes a pleasurable activity associated with care and love. Older students and adults who struggle with reading should not dismiss the importance of being read to, even if they’ve outgrown the “bedtime story” phase. They can reap the benefits just as much!

Readaloud.org is a wonderful resource devoted to this topic. The Book Selections page on this website includes several read-aloud suggestions for younger students. For a wider range of ages, we recommend the 100 Best Read Aloud Books list from Scholastic, as well as this list from Read Brightly.

In addition to reading books with trusted caregivers, students can continue working in Read Naturally programs at home if they are able to. There are several options:

Our wish this holiday season is for struggling readers everywhere to feel the love and joy that books can bring into their lives. We hope you make the time to read over break, too. The downtime you spend relaxing with a good book is actually one of the most productive things you can do for yourself! 

Happy Holidays!