Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thanksgiving Literacy Part 1: Getting Ready

In addition to reading a variety of Thanksgiving-related books (see Celebrate Thanksgiving with Books Part 1 ), consider trying some other activities that promote literacy. This week I’ll give several suggestions for getting ready for Thanksgiving Day. Next Wednesday, I’ll suggest several crafts. In the following week, I’ll offer several ideas and sites for using family cooking to promote literacy.

Many kids love making cards for family, friends and neighbors. Here are a couple of ideas to get started.
Thanksgiving Quotes for inside your cards

Let your kids help make the Thanksgiving table festive.
Other Table Decorations

Word Searches – You can find Thanksgiving word searches online but creating your own is a better literacy idea.
  • Brainstorm a list of Thanksgiving words.
  • Give each family member a piece of graph paper to create his own puzzle.
  • On the graph paper, write the letters of each word in the squares - up, down, diagonal. Avoid going backwards - it's too visually confusing (my bias).
  • Fill in the unused squares with random letters.
  • Exchange searches.
Crossword Puzzles (a little trickier)
  • Brainstorm a list of Thanksgiving words and their definitions (clues). Or let everyone come up with her own clues. The simplest clues are fill-in-the-blank sentences: My grandpa carved the _____.
  • Give each family member a piece of graph paper to create his own puzzle.
  • Lightly plot each word on the graph paper, in pencil, criss-crossing the words.
  • Once all the words have been plotted, heavily outline only the graph squares you used.
  • Number the words.
  • Write out your clues to correspond with the across and down words.
  • Carefully erase the words.
  • Exchange puzzles.
 T-H-A-N-K-S-G-I-V-I-N-G Words
Using the letters in Thanksgiving, create other words. Examples: hang, giving, sit… If you want, you can make it a contest to see who gets the most words. You can also give extra credit for longer words.

  • Plant a corn seed, popcorn, and candy corn. Make predictions on which will grow and then watch their progress! Some kids will actually think a candy corn tree may grow from the candy corn. After a few weeks, make comparisons of the real corn and candy corn.
  • Put an ear of corn in a pot filled with potting soil, half covering it with the soil. It will grow. Be sure to use field corn or Indian corn.
  • Or just take an ear of Indian corn and place it in a pie tin with water. The kernels of corn actually start growing!

These are just a few ways to promate literacy at Thanksgiving. What are some more ways you've thought up? Share in the Comments box!

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