My teens and tween may be too old to wish for their two front teeth, but surprisingly, one gift still tops their Christmas list every year--a new book. From the Sandra Boynton board books to Dr. Seuss and on to chapter books, the gift of reading has become a tradition.
The Gift of Time: My daughter received the first Harry Potter from a cousin at Christmas. Since I wasn't sure about its appropriateness, I read it out loud with her. We read the next three in the series before I passed the opportunity to her father. Reading together doesn't have to be such a big time commitment. Any amount of one-on-one time with a parent, grandparent or interested adult is a gift every child wants.
The Gift of Imagination: My youngest and I have shared an old copy of Little Women this year. The old-fashioned language and clothing have stirred our imaginations. She told me that reading allows her to let go of everything else and live like she's a person in the story. That kind of experience inspires creativity in the real world.
The Gift of Literacy: We often buy gifts for Christmas that are just a tad above our kids' skill and age level, and that includes books, too. It stretches their current skills and increases their vocabulary. Home has been a safe place for them to try those new words that they've never pronounced, and we only laugh a little when one of them says things like "deck-al" for decal.
The December Staples Motley School Page spotlighted Huntington Kleinschmidt, a young boy who read 1000 books. He participated in the Staples Motley 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program to promote reading in the early years. Such partnerships between parents and the community make literacy a reality.
Even if there isn't a book or subscription under your tree, reading is a gift that anyone can share with a child this season. Its value lasts beyond the moment it's unwrapped.