Christmas Classroom Book Reading

Sometimes you never know how kids will respond to your book, and then you get an opportunity to read your story to a live audience and see in person how the kids respond and react to what you have written.

I had the chance to read Ernie the Elf and the Special Gift to the kindergarten classes of Sunrise Elementary in Deltona, Florida and it was a very touching and inspiring experience. While some of the children were disappointed that I wasn’t in an elf costume, they were excited that I was going to read my book to them. Upon completing the book, the kids asked me questions about the story and how I came up with my story idea.

What caught me off guard was that after the reading the teachers were impressed at how the book captivated the children and the various teaching points the book offered. While I always try to stress teamwork in my stories, they shared other teaching points that they noticed in the book.

Classroom Teaching Points
Perseverance – Ernie is faced with a variety of obstacles in order to get the gift to Santa, yet he keeps a positive attitude and works to find solutions to his challenges.

Teamwork – Ernie must collaborate with follow elves, a reindeer, and goose in order to achieve his goal.

Selflessness – Ernie puts himself at risk in order to try get the special gift to a little girl.

Geography – During the story they talk about the North Pole and Santa’s flight plan which takes Santa by New York and eventually down to Florida where the little girl lives.

Showcases Special Needs Child – At the end of the story, we learn that the Special Gift is for a girl who is in a wheelchair and the reason that the gift is special is because she is in a wheelchair too.

These are the main ideas in the book, that can lead to discussions with the children.

Classroom Book Reading Ideas
When I went to read my book to the kindergarten classes, I had help putting the program together with the Kindergarten Teacher, Mrs. Taylor. Based on my experience and her feedback, here are some ideas if you do a reading of Ernie the Elf and the Special Gift book in your classroom.

1. Have a helper when reading the book.
I read the book to the kids, and the teacher showed the graphics from each page as I read.

2. Have a projector/computer to show the book’s graphics on a large screen.
We have 20 kids and not everyone can sit close enough to see the books graphics. By placing the graphics on the large screen and having the teacher load the next image as I read the story, all the kids got to fully enjoy the book.

3. Two books are better than one.
If you are going to do a Christmas classroom reading, consider having two books. One for the person reading the story and the other for the person managing the graphics. This way they can follow along and know when to change the images.

4. Discuss the book.
After you finish reading the book, you can discuss what the children liked most about the book. Once the kids have shared there thoughts, the teacher can focus on asking questions about some of the teaching points noted above.

5. Picture drawing
Kids love drawing, so encourage them to draw their favorite scene from the book. The children from Mrs. Taylor’s kindergarten class drew pictures after my reading and then sent them to me as a thank you. I have all of them and they are so precious.

6. Play the Ernie the Elf and the Special Gift song.
Yes, there is an Ernie Christmas song. Now that they know the story the song will make more sense, and you can play it while they are coloring.

Final Thoughts
My classroom book reading experience didn’t end once I left the school, as one week later I received a thank you package from the kindergarten classes. Inside the package was a super sized thank you note signed by all of the children and dozens of drawings that showcased the children’s favorite parts of the book. Reading to the kids was truly magical and I hope to be able to do more classroom readings in the future.

If you are looking to read a Christmas story to your kids this Christmas, consider Ernie the Elf and the Special Gift. If you have questions, you can contact me and I will try to answer them.

If you or your school is looking to have an in person book reading of Ernie the Elf and the Special Gift, you can contact me about availability. I reside in Orlando, but can travel for Christmas classroom book readings. Thank you for checking out Ernie’s site and be sure to pick up copy of my book. 

Purchase the Book – Ernie the Elf and the Special Gift on Amazon.