Top 6 Christmas books for beginner (A1) ESL students

Inspire your beginner ESL students with these fun-yet-educational Christmas stories for young learners! Perfect for festive read-aloud lessons or Christmas gifts for your students.

Top tips:

  • Link the book in with your students’ learning, e.g. reviewing numbers, clothes, directions, etc.
  • Use rhythm, rhyme and repetition to develop students’ phonemic awareness.
  • Ask the student to describe what they can see in the pictures, point to key items on the page and guess what will happen next.
  • Books are not just for class! Encourage students to enjoy these stories at home for additional practice.

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Dear Santa by Rod Campbell

This hands-on lift-the-flap book is great for young ESL learners with a beginner English level! There is lots of repetition to reinforce key phrases and cute pictures for new words.

Santa is looking for the perfect present to send to a special child. Lift the flaps to reveal a big kite, a bouncy ball, and a mask! But nothing seems quite right…until Christmas Eve, when Santa finds the perfect gift to leave under the tree. 

Learning links: Adjectives (big, small, noisy, etc); toys (car, kite, ball, etc).

Five Little Penguins by Lily Murray and Holly Surplice

Ideal for young learners, with cute rhymes, repetition and images

Five little penguins went out one day
Over the hills and far away.
Mamma Penguin said “Hurry back to me!”
How many penguins can you see?

Join the adorable penguins on a lift-the-flap walk through a winter wonderland. Along the way, they meet all kinds of festive animals playing in the snow. But wait – the chicks are disappearing one by one… Whatever are they up to?

Learning links: Numbers 1-5.

It’s Christmas, David by David Shannon

A cute book about a naughty boy wanting to sneak a peak at his Christmas presents! With very simple sentences and great pictures, this is ideal for pre-A1 level students. 

Readers of all ages will vividly remember trying to peek at hidden gift packages; writing scrolls of wish lists to Santa; and struggling to behave at formal Christmas dinner parties.

From playing with delicate ornaments to standing in an endlessly long line for Santa, here are common Christmas activities–but with David’s naughty trimmings. A surefire hit that is destined to be an annual classic.

Learning links: Negatives, everyday instructions.

The Candy Cane Fiasco by Rachel Hilz and Luis Peres

A hilariously funny story that’s sure to have your students laughing while learning!

What parent hasn’t struggled with a sticky child? Parents will laugh along with the kids in this over-the-top adventure loosely inspired by real-life experiences with a sticky kid. .

My Gram gives me a candy cane, and that’s when things get tricky.
Now from my toes up to my nose, I am a wee bit sticky.

Learning links: Parts of the body.

Squirrel’s Snowman by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

A cute story for young kids about building a snowman.

Squirrel’s snowman has a head. Now he needs a nose.
Can Squirrel find a carrot? What do you suppose?

It’s snowing in Acorn Wood, and Squirrel wants to build a snowman. Will she and her friends find everything they need? Lift the flaps to find out in this wonderful wintry tale.

Learning links: Parts of the body, clothes.

Christmas ABC by Jannie Ho

Ideal for beginner ESL students learning the alphabet and phonics

This fun first alphabet book introduces simple seasonal words to get toddlers excited about Christmas.

Bright illustrations feature lots of happy faces and familiar festive details to spot and talk about, providing hours of shared first-word fun!

Learning links: Alphabet, phonics, seasonal vocabulary.

Looking for more interactive Christmas stories for your online ESL students?

Check out our collection of Christmas lessons:

What’s your favourite Christmas book for ESL students? Let us know in the comments!

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