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The Night Before Christmas

Last updated Monday, July 23, 2007

Author: Clement Moore
Illustrator: Tomie de Paola
Date of Publication: 1980
ISBN: 0823404145
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Dec. 2004

Synopsis: The beloved Christmas poem, abridged, that features stockings hung by the chimney with care, a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rendeer, and St. Nick himself -- all depicted inside a bright red, house-shaped ornament. The shadow box scenes show Santa with a bag of toys on one side and Santa's sleigh flying into the night on the other.

Note to readers:
•  Readers: many children will have heard of this story before. The challenge will be to find ways of demonstrating to the children why it is fun to re-read stories that we love. Also, re: Santa Claus, let the children lead the discussion with their beliefs and understandings.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What is your favorite book? Do you read it over and over again? Same with favorite movie?
•  Do you know this Poem? What is it about? The story was written in 1823 as a family tradition to read on Christmas Eve.
•  What do you do on Christmas eve?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  If you saw Santa, what would you ask him?
•  Why do you think he "lays a finger aside of his nose?"

Craft ideas:
•  Make a chain of red and green strips to count down the days until Christmas.
•  Volunteers - bring candy canes; make reindeers out of the candy canes with paper or pipe cleaner antlers, eyes, and a nose.
•  Write a letter to Santa.

Special activities:
•  Act out the story.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!