Christmas Lessons: Try Reading! 8 Top Christmas Books for ESL
Christmas time is a great time to cuddle up with a good book by the fire.
Although you won’t be able to get a good fire going in class, you might still be able to recreate this cozy atmosphere with some good reading nonetheless. And there is no better opportunity to get your students acquainted with some classic Christmas stories and some vocabulary that relate to the season.
Want to give your students some background information on Saint Nick? Where does the name Santa Claus come from? Here are some worksheets for elementary and upper-intermediate students. Each of the two stories comes with pre-reading, reading, and post-reading tasks, so the hard part has already been figured out for you!
This worksheet is just packed with information! Students at an intermediate level and above have a chance to read about some of the things that are most commonly associated to Christmas in the northern hemisphere, including things like candy canes and mistletoe. Use these short texts for all types of reading activities. And don’t forget to make use of the handy vocabulary list on the last two pages.
Twas the Night Before Christmas
This classic poem provides some great Christmas reading for students of all ages, although the vocabulary may be hard for beginners to understand. It is perfect for reading out loud, indeed, not a creature will be stirring as you read these captivating verses. But before reading make sure you engage students’ attention in a warm-up and go over some of the more difficult vocabulary. There's a copy of the poem available at About.com, which includes the vocabulary list. EnglishGateway also has a great lesson plan that you can use, which even includes a link to an audio file for the poem so you may combine listening and reading activities. If you wish to purchase this book, you’ll find it at Amazon: The Night Before Christmas
A Christmas Carol
There is no story that is more popular during Christmas time than A Christmas Carol. Although it is a bit long to read in just one class, you may choose to read it in parts over the course of several lessons. ESOLEBooks offers a simplified version of Dickens’s classic novel in six easy to read parts, each of which is accompanied by a vocabulary list and suggested activities. It’s a great option considering that reading the original is not a very feasible endeavor.
Written by Michelle Medlock Adams and illustrated by Amy Wummer, this book is perfect for the littlest ones. The book simply answers the question with beautiful art and engaging rhymes. Try asking your young learners, “What is Christmas?” before reading, and then see how their answers and the book’s compare. Available at Amazon.
Written by Rick Osborne and Jim Griffin, this book for children 4 to 8 explores the origins of the custom of hanging and leaving gifts in stockings, and emphasizes the importance of giving through very realistic illustrations. Also available at Amazon.
Perfect for the pre-teen set, this book written by Bill Myers is just another in the series titled The Incredible Worlds of Wally McDoogle, but one where Wally embarks on a special holiday adventure. Tremendous fun for the kids and easy to read. Read over the course of the month, or assign as homework.
Written by Phillip Harris, this book is the ideal reading assignment for teens in advanced levels. Although the premise is similar to that of Dickens’s classic, in this book there is no Scrooge but rather a troubled 16-year old who is visited by his father’s ghost, who tries to steer the young man away from drugs. Assign it as reading over the holidays, and discuss upon your return to classes.
From well-loved classics, to new favorites, short worksheets or assigned reading over the holidays, we recommend you give your students some form of reading fun for the holiday season. It’s a great chance for them to brush up on their reading comprehension skills, pick up some new vocabulary, or simply explore what the holiday season is all about.
Claudia has been an ESL teacher for 20 years and has taught a wide variety of students from pre-schoolers to senior citizens, complete beginners to advanced students. This vast teaching experience has helped her write over 100 articles for BusyTeacher.org. When she is not teaching, she is also a freelance travel writer contributing reviews for V!VA Travel Guides' upcoming Uruguay edition, as well as travel articles and blog posts for a variety of online publications. She is currently living in Buenos Aires, Argentina with her spunky 7-year old daughter and crabby 10-year old cat, Ulysses. Google +.
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