Christmas Read Alouds for Elementary Students in 2022

As soon as the calendar switches over to the month of December, your elementary students’ brains move into Christmas mode. Many of them have an elf on the shelf arrive at their home, they help their families decorate their Christmas tree, they enjoy gingerbread cookies and hot chocolate in cozy pajamas, and they diligently write their Christmas list. It can feel impossible to keep students learning and engaged with all of this excitement going on! Luckily, there is a solution: bringing the holiday season into your classroom! One great way to do this is through Christmas read alouds.

There are tons of great Christmas-themed books that can be used as winter read alouds to teach essential reading comprehension strategies like identifying the author’s purpose, making connections, and analyzing characters. Students learn important skills while listening to a topic of high interest. That sounds like a double win!

Will you pick out some of the newer Christmas read aloud books like Dasher: How a Brave Little Doe Changed Christmas Forever by Matt Tavares, or stick with the classic Christmas stories to share with your kids? Both the classic children’s Christmas books and new Christmas stories for children are valuable and can all be used during what can feel like a very long month. Luckily, picking out a Christmas story to read is easy with the help of this list of Christmas read alouds below!

two kids reading a Christmas picture book

Christmas Read Alouds

Here are Christmas read alouds that are great for elementary students!

1. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

The Polar Express is a magical story about a late night train ride to the North Pole. On Christmas Eve the main character lays quietly in his bed hoping to hear Santa, however he hears the train instead. The boy runs outside and learns it is headed to the North Pole. On board, he and other children enjoy cocoa in their pajamas as the train moves through the night.

When they arrive at the North Pole, the children learn one person will be chosen to receive the first gift of Christmas. The main character is chosen and he asks Santa for a bell from his sleigh. When the children are back on the train and heading home, everyone wants to see the bell. When the boy reaches into his pocket for it, he realizes there was a hole in his pocket! The bell is gone! 

The next morning, the boy opens Christmas presents with his family. His younger sisters hands him the last gift and the boy is surprised to see the bell. There was a note from Santa explaining he found it on the sleigh. As the boy shakes the bell, he and his sister can hear the beautiful sound but his parents cannot. Years pass and soon his sister and friends can no longer hear the bell either. Only those that truly believe will be able to hear the beautiful bell. 

Check out The Polar Express activities below by clicking the images!

The Polar Express book companionThe Polar Express activity

2. Mooseltoe by Margie Palatini

It is Christmas time and Moose is in the holiday spirit. He starts his day by playing some Christmas music on the piano before reviewing his to-do list. He gets to work and writes all of the holiday cards and completes all of the gift shopping. Moose even wraps all of the presents by himself! Things are going perfectly perfect so far. 

Next, Moose heads to the kitchen to start baking holiday treats. He makes a variety of cookies, cakes, and jellies. With the baking done, Moose is ready to decorate the house. He strings garland and beads throughout and decorates with bows. Finally, Moose hangs all of the stockings. Everything has been simple and easy. 

That night, the family realizes one thing is missing, the Christmas tree! Moose hurries out into the snow in search of a tree but comes home empty handed. Not wanting the children to be disappointed, Moose suggests they turn him into the tree.

The family works together to glue his mustache, add lights and ornaments. Soon, Moose has turned into a makeshift Christmas tree! The children went off to bed while Moose stayed awake twinkling and waiting for Santa. 

Check out the related Mooseltoe activities below by clicking the images!

Mooseltoe book companionMooseltoe worksheets

3. Night Tree by Eve Bunting

In the story The Night Tree by Eve Bunting, a family sets out into the forest on Christmas Eve. They have a box and lantern with them as they make their way through the dark, cold forest. Eventually, they arrive at a tree and realize it has grown since last year. The two children begin decorating the tree with popcorn string, fruits and seeds they have made. Once the tree has been decorated, the family sits down on a blanket and warms up with hot chocolate as they admire the tree. They’ve decorated the tree in hopes that animals will come and eat off of it. Students will love hearing about this family’s unique Christmas Eve tradition!

Check out the related Night Tree activities below by clicking the images!

Night Tree book companionThe Night Tree writing activity

4. Red and Lulu by Matt Tavares

Red and Lulu tells the sweet story of two cardinals that live happily in an evergreen tree. One day, when Red is out in search of food, he returns to find the tree cut down and on the back of a moving truck. He frantically tries to follow the tree because Lulu is still in it, however he can’t keep up. Red does not give up and keeps flying in search of his friend.

He arrives in a strange new place, New York City. He follows a familiar song and chirping to find Lulu in their tree in Rockefeller Center. The cardinals are amazed by the crowd of thousands admiring the tree and singing carols. Eventually, the two birds must find a new home in Central Park, but make it a tradition to visit their beloved evergreen each year. This heartwarming story about the friendship between two birds is sure to be loved by all!

Check out the related Red and Lulu activities below by clicking the images!

Red and Lulu book companionRed and Lulu activity

5. As Cool As It Gets by Jory John

It’s the holiday season but the Cool Bean is not feeling very festive. His friends are getting together for their annual party and gift exchange and he chose Beanadette’s name. Beanadette is the coolest of the cool beans and the Cool Bean has no idea what to get her. He can’t get her something expensive or extravagant. 

Eventually, the Cool Bean starts making a picture. It feels good to be creative and he is happy with how the picture for Beanadette came out. However, as it gets closer to the party, the Cool Bean starts to worry about Beanadettes reaction to his gift. At the party, all of the other gifts are extravagant things like electronics. The Cool Bean is feeling embarrassed about his homemade picture. 

When Beanadette opens the present, the Cool Bean is surprised to hear she thinks it is a cool gift. In fact, all the other beans are impressed with the picture! The Cool Bean learns that a gift is a gift, whether it is homemade or purchased. He learned it feels good to make something for someone else and people feel special when you make something just for them. 

Students will love this holiday story about the Cool Bean. Check out the related As Cool As It Gets activities below by clicking the images!

As Cool As It Gets book companionAs Cool As It Gets book and activities

In closing, we hope you found this list of Christmas read alouds helpful! If you did, then you may also be interested in these posts:

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