Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat… and children all over the country are working themselves into a frenzy of anticipation.  By the end of the week they will (almost) all be done with the glitter, the glue, the tinsel, parties and carol concerts.  They will be ready for a full week of waiting under the feet of their parents, who will no doubt be wishing that the school term was just a fraction longer.

Here at Driver Youth Trust we wish all our readers a very Merry Christmas and, as our gift to you, offer our top tips for getting through the party season when you have a child with literacy difficulties.


It may be tempting to rush around, visiting every possible relative in the shortest amount of time, but give yourselves time to recuperate after the longest term at the darkest time of the year.  Many children (and adults) become ill at this time of year – if yours are showing signs of being poorly – make sure to include some down time.


Give a book

If you haven’t got one already wrapped and under the tree, don’t feel that because your child is experiencing literacy difficulties that you can’t give them a book to enjoy.  Look out for books in their area of interest, quality picture books, audio books and graphic novels. A great book finder is here if you are stuck for ideas!

Read books and stories together

When everyone is on holiday, it is the time to relax together. As well as bedtime stories, talk about the books, films and stories you all enjoy and what makes them special.  Don’t forget that reading to your child isn’t something that stops when they leave the baby years. Great advice for reading stories together at bedtime.

Write together

Everyone loves to get a thank you letter; a letter, handwritten in today’s world of email and text communication, is something to be treasured.  You may not have had time to handwrite the ‘Round Robin’, but take some time to write a thank you to your nearest and dearest – or try a home-made card if you haven’t quite had enough of the glitter.  Easy resources from Blue Peter.

Turn the screens off

It can be tempting, especially if the weather is grim, to plug everyone into a screen and be done with it, but don’t forget there are many things to do that don’t involve screens.  Baking (easy gingerbread recipe), – board games, colouringgoing for a walk and noticing the world around you, talking together – all these things support literacy without it feeling like work.

Enjoy your Christmas together

Many families with children with additional needs find that Christmas can be a stressful time, where the expectations of others can add an extra level of tension to the holiday. Make your holiday your own – the one that suits you and your family – and enjoy.

With best wishes for a restful Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year, from the DYT team. dyt-xmas