YOU’RE making a list and checking it twice...

Which means it is the perfect opportunity to do some reading practice.

The National Literacy Trust, which is running the Oxford Mail backed Oxfordshire Reading Campaign, is urging parents to think of creative ways of bringing reading into Christmas.

Campaign manager Clare Bolton said: “The Christmas holidays are often a time when families have a bit more time to spend together, and it could be a good opportunity to do some simple activities with your kids that will help their literacy skills, while being fun too.”

She suggested encouraging youngsters to write letters to Father Christmas, decorate them with colourful pictures and read them aloud.

She said: “You could also spend time talking about what your children think the rest of their family and their friends would like.

“Maybe they could help you write down a list of presents for grandparents, aunties and uncles – after all, Christmas is for grown-ups too.”

Ms Bolton suggested building excitement to the big day by reading Christmas-themed books together.

She said: “You could take a trip to the library and spend some time out of the cold choosing festive books to read.”

For the very young, she suggested Dear Santa by Rod Campbell, and The Snowman by Raymond Briggs, while older children could enjoy The Snow Queen by Hans Christan Anderson, or Michael Morpurgo’s The Best Christmas Present in the World.

Ms Bolton said: “If you have some relaxation time planned, why not put your feet up with a newspaper, book or magazine and let your children see you reading.

“You are a great role model for your kids and by showing them that you enjoy reading, you are setting a great example.”

Even the Christmas dinner could provide opportunities to bring reading into family celebrations.

Ms Bolton suggested children help choose a recipe, write down the ingredients and tick them off the list as you do the shopping – then help follow the recipe together.

Forty-five Oxfordshire primary schools are taking part in the Oxfordshire Reading Campaign.

For more information, visit reading_campaign


The Oxfordshire Reading Campaign was launched by Oxfordshire County Council, backed by the Oxford Mail, to improve reading standards in the youngest children. The goals are to:

Improve the proportion of children who reach Level 2B at Key Stage 1 by 12 per cent to 86 per cent

Increase enjoyment of and confidence in reading.

Eighty-one schools across the county, chosen based on Key Stage 1 results over the past three years, are invited to take part.

The campaign is run by the National Literacy Trust and will involve:

A reading intervention programme called Project X Code with Year 2 children

Volunteers reading one-to-one with children

Training and development for teachers