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What is Your Christmas Tree Tradition?

What is your Christmas Tree Tradition? And does it include a Christmas Family Read Aloud. For me the writing of the 12 Days of Christmas, A Christmas Family Read Aloud has three main purposes.

First, purpose is for us to become aware of quality read aloud books that can be enjoyed as a family or classroom at Christmas time.

Second, is to create opportunities for bonding times, especially during the hectic Christmas season. By snuggling and bonding with our children we show that we love them.

Third, is to help us realize the importance of expanding children’s minds through listening, discussing and writing.

Through the reading aloud experiences we are building a love of reading, “Oiling Their Minds” with thoughts they wouldn’t ordinarily have, helping them build background knowledge about subjects they might not otherwise encounter and help them gain the knowledge of how to write down their own ideas and stories.

My last blog was entitled “Story of Rockefeller Center Tree told by The Carpenter’s Gifts” which leds into learning more background knowledge about the Rockerfellow Tree in New York.

Another book I am recommending is Mr. Willowbys Christmas Tree. I have chosen the book for this blog, because it is written in verse which makes it especially beneficial for young children and also very enjoyable for older children. Listening to rhyming books naturally helps children to develop phonemic awareness. They begin to learn that words are made up of different parts and letters when they hear us reading books written in verse. The collection of nursery rhymes in Mother Goose is a great example of this.

Here is an excerpt from my 12 Days of Christmas, A Christmas Family Read Aloud.


written & illustrated by Robert Barry

This delightful story takes Mr. Willowby's Christmas tree through many different owners (mostly animals) But every time the tree is too tall so the new owner cuts off the top (never the bottom) and throws it out. The next animal that comes along is delighted and rescues the tree. The animals are getting smaller so each time the tree is still too tall. Finally, it gets down to the tiniest tip top.

And you read:

“Oh wasn't it grand to have a tree exactly like Mr. Willowby?”

Any time I talk about this book invariable I hear a comment similar to this, “Oh I just loved that book when I was a child.” And I can tell you I am sure yours will love it too. Everyone in the book is excited to have a part of Mr. Willoughby’s Christmas tree. This is a classic Christmas Read Aloud, celebrating all the joys a Christmas tree can bring.

The tree is generally a focal point in our homes during Christmas. Do you make a special family event out of getting your tree? Is it family excursion to the local tree lot or going to the woods and cutting down the tree. The important thing is to make it a special time

My family in Blackfoot, Idaho go every year to Kesler’s Market to get their Christmas tree. Kesler’s turn their Gardening Center into an exciting Christmas tree area. The trees are hanging from the ceiling so they can be twisted around to see them better. They have unique Christmas decorations of all kinds.

And best yet they serve hot chocolate, donuts, and a unique experience. Families have a great time picking out their Christmas

tree and socializing. Maybe you have something like this in your area.

Don’t forget to add reading Mr. Willowby’s Christmas tree as part of this special bonding time. Now you have finished reading the book, be sure and take some time to talk about the story.

In the introduction of my book 12 Days of Christmas, A Christmas Family Read Aloud I explain oiling your child's mind time.

Oiling Their Mind Time: Writing

Remember reading and writing go hand in hand. Learning to write ideas about the books after the read aloud is the process of manipulating the letters they hear and see. Writing their ideas and thoughts is a harder process so you as a parent can model this. Maybe write part of it and let them finish, keeping in mind their writing individual capabilities. Very young children could even start by drawing pictures. Help them grow into the writing and praise their efforts. You can start by writing ideas in a family journal. A large stand-up writing tablet can be used as a Family Journal.

After the read aloud, discuss the book and then write these thoughts, ideas, likes and dislikes in your Family Journal. When you are writing on the Journal, you are “Modeling:” the writing process for your children. The more coherent sentences they see you write, the better children will be able to write. Visual receptors in the brain outnumber audio receptors thirty to one.

Encourage them to write or draw pictures in their Individual writing notebook from their own thoughts and comments about the book. Remember keep it fun and not laborious. We are working on the IDEAS of writing, not how to form the letters.

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree

Oiling Their Mind Time: Writing

Write in your family journal about the experience of getting your Christmas Tree. Another option could be a fun and simple Family Christmas poem. Look at the example below. The word tree is written down the left side of the page. Start each line with the letter on the left. The meaning of each line can lead into the total meaning of the whole poem or each line could have a meaning of its own.

You could do a Family Poem Journal, with all of them contributing ideas. Just have fun with writing.

  • Write Christmas words down the left side of the page.

  • Everyone can write a small poem independently.

  • Publish a family book with different independent poem

Notes about me:

Jylene Morgan is a retired educator. She is passionate about the importance of reading aloud to children from top quality children’s books. Writing about her life experiences she captivates her audience by telling the tales of her family’s adventures. The first several books are written about funny exchanges that occur when human and wild animal’s lives come together.

To read more about me, my passion for reading aloud to children and my books go to Make sure you join our mailing list so you receive Jylene's "Most Treasured Books List". So you can also be the first to know when Jylene's next book, BUMMER and the Nanny Goat, is available.


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