Fourth grade is a pivotal year in reading, which is why I am always surprised to hear the misconception that fourth graders are too young for picture books. The benefits of interactive read alouds are immense, even in the upper elementary grades. If you haven’t already, there is no better time to incorporate picture books into your reading lessons than in December! There are so many wonderful books for 4th graders to enjoy and learn from during the Christmas season. Listed below are among the best mentor texts for 4th grade teachers to read aloud to students during this holiday season.
Silver Packages by Cynthia Rylant is a fantastic book to teach a variety of reading skills. Not only is Silver Packages an outstanding mentor text, but it is also an eye-opening story for kids to understand gratitude, poverty, and needs vs. wants during the holiday season. Here are some teaching points for reading skills using Silver Packages as a mentor text with 4th grade students:
- Making Inferences
- Cause and Effect
Silver Packages also presents a variety of cross-curricular connection opportunities in Social Studies. Discuss needs vs. wants, and allow students to learn about the impact of the Santa Train in the Appalachia.
Click here to get this book on Amazon. You can also borrow this book for free at Open Library. Simply create a free account and search for Silver Packages by Cynthia Rylant.
Fourth grade lessons and activities for Silver Packages are also available for purchase in my store. This product includes five days of activities and lessons focused around making inferences, cause and effect, character analysis of Frankie, and theme.
Gifts of the Heart
Gifts of the Heart by Patricia Polacco makes an excellent book unit study during December. This story is loaded with potential teaching points for 4th grade, especially in regards to character traits, feelings, and motivations. Some of my favorite lessons to teach using Gifts of the Heart include the following:
- Character Traits
- Character Change
- Context Clues
I highly recommend using Gift of the Heart to do a deep dive character analysis of Richie. Not only do the kids enjoy this unit, but they learn so much!
Gifts of the Heart is available on Amazon. You can also borrow this book at Open Library for free. Simply create a free account and search for Gifts of the Heart by Patricia Polacco.
Lessons and activities to accompany Gifts of the Heart are also available for purchase in my store. This fourth grade book companion includes a full week of activities to teach students to infer character traits, character change, and use context clues to determine the meaning of unknown words.
The Carpenter’s Gift
The Carpenter’s Gift by David Rubel is a heartwarming Christmas story of the Rockefeller Center Tree set in New York City during the Great Depression. This picture book perfectly demonstrates the theme of compassion and generosity.
- Character Traits
Although there are many potential teaching points for The Carpenter’s Gift, I highly recommend using this outstanding mentor text for a deep dive on theme and the importance of the setting. The Carpenter’s Gift book companion in my store includes resources and activities to hit these teaching points. Within this book companion is a nonfiction passage about the Great Depression to provide students with a deeper understanding of the hardships faced by Henry and his family during this era.
Click here to buy The Carpenter’s Gift on Amazon. It is also available to borrow for free at Open Library. Simply create a free account and search for The Carpenter’s Gift by David Rubel.
Red & Lulu
Red and Lulu are an adorable pair of cardinals who must find their way back to each other after getting separated when their beautiful tree is taken. Red & Lulu is another wonderful story about the Rockefeller Center Tree for 4th graders to enjoy during the holidays. There are plenty of teaching points that can be used for Red & Lulu, including the following:
- Making Connections
- Compare and Contrast
Pairing Red & Lulu and The Carpenter’s Gift provides lots of extended learning opportunities about the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and The Great Depression. I highly recommend incorporating nonfiction texts about these topics, which are included in my 4th grade December reading lessons.
Click here to buy Red & Lulu on Amazon.
Fourth grade lessons and activities to accompany Red & Lulu are also available for purchase in my store. This product includes five days of meaningful lessons and activities to teach students plot elements using plot diagrams, comparing and contrasting the setting, writing a summary, and more.
4th Grade December Reading Lessons
Do you want to save time planning? Good news! Fourth grade lessons and activities centered around these outstanding books are now available in my store
This complete set of CCSS and TEKS aligned 4th grade lessons and activities can be used as supplemental or stand alone reading lessons for the entire month of December. January books and lessons for 4th grade will be available soon. Follow my store for updates.
Each book will consist of a 5 day unit study for teaching 4th grade reading skills. Nonfiction paired reading passages covering relevant topics are also included. Primary focal teaching points include inferences, character traits, plot, and theme. This set of 4 books covers a teaching duration for the entire month of December.
More Read Alouds to Consider
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
An Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco
Christmas Farm by Mary Lyn Ray
A Wish to be a Christmas Tree by Colleen Monroe
Winter Picture Books for December
Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder by Mark Cassino
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper
Brave Irene by William Steig
December by Eve Bunting
Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner
Multicultural Picture Books for December
Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto
All of a Kind Family Hanukkah by Emily Jenkins
The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola
‘Twas Nochebuena by Roseanne Greenfield Thong
The Legend of Old Befana: An Italian Christmas Story by Tomie dePaola
Tree of Cranes by Allen Say
The Christmas Mitzvah by Jeff Gottesfeld
Together for Kwanzaa by Juwanda G. Ford
Be sure to follow my store for more lessons, resources, and freebies. You can also follow me on Pinterest for more teaching ideas!
I hope you enjoy!
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