At a recent birthday party that my daughter attended, I noticed the amount of presents that were toys or clothes. I rarely saw books or writing materials given. As a reading teacher, this seems that parents are missing an opportunity to promote literacy. I am in no way saying that children should not be given toys. I am simply saying that we should make presents purposeful, and one purposeful reason is to promote literacy.
- 3-5 books that are on a topic that the child likes- Amazon has great lists that can help you to choose books that would be appropriate for the birthday child!
- Magazine subscription- Magazine subscriptions make great birthday gifts. One magazine I particular like is the Ranger Rick magazines. They have 3 different levels of magazines. There is Ranger Rick, for students 7-12, Ranger Rick Jr, for ages 4-7 and finally Ranger Rick Cub, for ages 0-4. Zoobooks (a Ranger Rick publication) is also another great magazine subscription.
- Craft box with book making materials- Let the birthday child create their own books! Children are able to know that the crafts and materials in their box is for them to use however they please! Not only does it allow creativity, but helps the child to practice sequencing, character development, plot analysis, and telling a story that attracts readers.
- Book with pictures of important people in the child’s life- Using shutterfly or another photo gift creating software, create a photo book that has mom, dad, grandma and other important people in the birthday child’s life. As a young child, labeling items is an important part of developing literacy. The child will love looking at familiar faces and labeling them while sitting on a lap.
- Journal with new pens- For older children, a journal and multi-colored pens can begin a world of writing. An addition of stickers can help children become excited to describe their world in detail.