It’s December! Winter is kicking in, the holiday decorations are up, and it’s time for some cheer. But with the winter break just around the corner, veteran teachers will know that keeping students engaged in reading (or really anything) through this month can be a challenge!

That’s why we’ve put together five ELA Activities to keep kids engaged this season!

Read Chicken Soup for the Soul!

Bring the holiday spirit into the classroom with heartwarming stories of joy, kindness, and gratitude from Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Blessings of Christmas with your students! This collection of inspirational, fun, and moving stories is an excellent way to keep students reading through December. 


At the beginning of each class, get students to take turns reading a few stories from this collection out loud to practice their reading and listening skills. Students could even try their hand at writing their own Chicken Soup stories based on their experiences. As a bonus, compile students’ stories into a mini-book as a gift to take home for the holidays!

Answer 12 Days of Literacy Questions with Flipgrid

Put an ELA spin on the traditional 12 Days of Christmas and turn it into 12 days of Literacy Questions! Use Flipgrid to ask students a daily literacy question in the twelve days leading up to the winter break. Some ideas for these questions could be relating them to a novel they are reading, reviewing content covered in class, or around fun holiday themes! The video element of Flipgrid makes it a fun activity for students while keeping them engaged and learning through December!

Start the Million Words Read Challenge

The Read to Lead Million Words Read Challenge officially starts in January, but we’ll let you in on a secret: Words read in the first half of the school year also count toward your class tally! December is the perfect time to get a headstart with your class and see how many words they can read before school closes out for the year!

A game-based reading challenge that turns reluctant readers into budding bookworms, the Million Words Read Challenge introduces an element of friendly competition among students and challenges them to read more. When students become Millionaires by collectively reaching a goal of one million words read, they also receive Read to Lead Student Prize Packs. While the challenge officially kicks off in January, students can get started right away and start reading their way to success. Sign up for a free account and join the Million Words Read Challenge today!

Celebrate Holidays Around the World

We all have Christmas traditions, but did you know that Christmas in the US can look very different from Christmas in Argentina, Russia, Sweden, and Italy? In this fun research project designed by Brain Waves Instruction, students discover how Christmas is celebrated around the world! Through their own research and investigation, they learn more about interesting holiday customs, food and drinks, and fun facts about their country of choice. This lesson plan also includes detailed lesson plans and implementation ideas (including tips on hosting a Christmas around the World Museum Sharing Day to have students share verbally about the country they researched)! Easy to execute, fun for the kids, AND educational – what’s not to like!

Take a Virtual Field Trip to Be The Boss

If your students are feeling antsy from being indoors and in the classroom all day, they’ll LOVE this ELA activity. Take students on a virtual field trip to an authentic workplace and let them become the “boss” for the day! That’s right –  Read to Lead puts students in the driver’s seat and lets them experience first-hand what it’s like to lead a team! 

In Read to Lead games, students adopt the persona of Medical Director, Editor-in-Chief, or Director of a Community Center to analyze and evaluate information, make important decisions, and navigate complex workplace dynamics. Not only will they be reading and developing useful literacy skills, but they will also hone their interpersonal and leadership skills! This immersive day at work is sure to be an experience students adore. Sign up for free today, and empower students to become the next generation of readers and leaders this season!

With these five ELA activities, you are sure to be able to keep your students engaged, interested, and learning through December! Have a favorite ELA activity for December your students really enjoy? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

About Read to Lead

Read to Lead uses the power of game-based learning to empower middle school students to build literacy, life, and career skills. Teachers can sign up for a free account to get started!