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How to Encourage Jólabókaflóðið This Holiday

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

That's Icelandic for "The Christmas Book Flood"


As educators, we have a unique opportunity to inspire both a love of learning and a love of reading in our students and their families. This Holiday season, extend your reach into the community and into your students’ homes by encouraging the Icelandic tradition of Jólabókaflóðið, or “the Christmas Book Flood.”

Icelandic tradition of Jólabókaflóðið

In Iceland, the giving of books for Christmas Eve and the subsequent reading of books is a cherished family tradition. Kids look forward to unwrapping their new books, and everyone finds a cozy spot to enjoy some treats and read the night away. By introducing Jólabókaflóðið in our classrooms, we do more than just promote reading. We model what being a reader looks like and foster a community of book lovers. This is a tradition to encourage in your community that will extend into generations.


Here are some tips for how to encourage this tradition:

1. Introduce the Tradition with a Storytelling Session

Begin by sharing the history and essence of Jólabókaflóðið with your students. Use a storytelling session to capture their imagination and explain how in Iceland, the giving of books and spending Christmas Eve reading is a cherished tradition.


2. Collaborate with Librarians

Work with your school and public librarians to create a Jólabókaflóðið display featuring recommended books for the holiday season. This could also include a section of seasonal, age-appropriate tales for students, and a special section for parents, not only offering tips on selecting books for their children, but also finding time to model being a reader at home.


3. Engage Parents and Caregivers

Send home a newsletter or host an informational session for parents explaining Jólabókaflóðið and its benefits. Provide tips on how they can be readers at home and incorporate this tradition, such as creating a cozy reading environment or combining reading time with holiday snacks.


4. Partner with Local Bookstores or Libraries

Reach out to local bookstores or libraries to organize a community book exchange or reading event. They might even be willing to donate some books to your classroom. This not only supports local businesses and libraries, but also helps spread the Jólabókaflóðið beyond the classroom.


5. Create a Class Cookie-Book

Ask each child to bring in their favorite cookie recipe. You can talk about the structure of a recipe, decorate cookies in class, and illustrate the recipe they’ve shared. Then, either digitally or in print form, create a Class Cookie-Book to send home with each child.


Not only can we practice this in our classrooms throughout the month of December, but we can also encourage families to adopt this tradition…and maybe even gift a few books for the holidays! Let's spread the joy of books this holiday season!


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