How Murray Saved Christmas by Mike Reiss


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When a well-meaning elf presents a toy to Santa that accidentally knocks him out cold, the elf must find a good Santa substitute. That’s where Murray comes in. The rhyming text is hilarious. For example, 

Christmas, you know, is that one special season,
When people do good things without a good reason.
The grouchiest men will wear musical ties,
And buy Christmas presents for folks they despise. 

How Murray Saved Christmas is a book I never tire of reading aloud.

Possible Strategy Instruction:


  • Check for understanding.
  • Back up and reread.
  • Ask questions throughout the reading process.
  • Make and adjust predictions; use text to confirm.
  • Use prior knowledge to connect with text.


  • Skip the word, then come back.


  • Use punctuation to enhance phrasing and prosody (end marks, commas, etc.).
  • Adjust and apply different reading rates to match text.

Expand Vocabulary

  • Tune in to interesting words and use new vocabulary in speaking and writing (revved, tinkerer, fabulous, fluttered, schlep, fracture, shrugged, perplexed, hemmed, hawed, pleasant).

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