Is it really December? I feel like I’ve blinked and half of the school year has passed, and it is time to share a set of December novel studies. As we wrap up Thanksgiving and start looking toward holiday break, book clubs can be a great way to keep students engaged and learning as the long winter break approaches. Here are a few great books that engage students with December themes.
December Novel Studies for Grades 4-6
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – A classic story that is perfect for the holidays, this book is the story of a group of children who discover a magical world hiding inside an old wardrobe. The text is a little more challenging and suitable for upper elementary and middle school readers, but there are so many levels of analysis that can be done with the story. Perfect for a classroom or small group novel study.
Stone Fox – This is a story of courage, adventure, and standing up for family. This story always makes me cry…but it is a memorable story with such great opportunities for conversation. It is truly perfect for your classroom in the winter.
Little House in the Big Woods – Set in the big woods of Wisconsin, a great deal of this book covers how early settlers prepared and enjoyed winter. A great historical fiction novel (that is actually based on a true story) that will fascinate your students while giving them an excellent opportunity to compare life today to life in the 1800s. Access free, no prep resources for this novel here.
The Long Winter – Another great Little House book, this story is set around an unexpected blizzard that falls in early winter. With the storm raging for four long days, the family must figure out how to survive. With freezing temperatures and a dire prediction of a long winter, the Ingalls family must brave the cold to survive.
The Family Under the Bridge – The story of a man who loves to be alone…but discovers that family, even one you happen upon accidentally, makes life worthwhile. After befriending the children living under the bridge, Armand realizes he must do everything he can to help them find a better home. Their adventures around Paris, including an encounter with Santa, are sure to delight.
December Novel Studies for Grades 3-5
Best Worst Christmas Pageant Ever – I can still remember reading this book as a child. This story is a hilarious look at the ever popular Christmas pageant experience through the eyes of a child. With a great cast of characters that provides hours of great discussion, this book is sure to be a winner with your students.
The Last Holiday Concert – If you’ve read an Andrew Clements book, then you know that kids love his work. This is the story of a popular 5th grader forced to take on the role of choir director when his classmates vote for him because the real director loses his job due to funding issues. Stuck with preparing the choir for their holiday concert, he also has to show the school board why his teacher should stay at the school.
December Novel Studies for Grades 2-4
Horrible Harry and the Holidaze – If you’ve never used this book, then today’s the day to start. This text offers a look at several commonly celebrated winter holidays through the lens of a fictional story about a group of classmates. A super easy read, this text is accessible and perfect for a unit of study for social studies.
Magic Tree House Fact Tracker Polar Bears and the Arctic – Want a great nonfiction read that is easy and supports great nonfiction mini-lessons? Teach all those essential nonfiction reading skills while learning about Arctic animals and their adaptations. Perfect for those cold December days!
Magic Tree House Polar Bears Past Bedtime – The fictional companion to the Fact Tracker, Magic Tree House is always a favorite for young readers. This great fantasy takes your students into the Arctic, where Jack and Annie encounter polar bears and learn a few things along the way!