Winter theme literacy activities
Teaching literacy always begins with reading to your students, a fun and enjoyable activity for everyone. Give your students positive experiences with books, such as acting out the stories, creating story characters with craft materials, and responding to literature with art, music and drama.
Make a few story characters with scraps of paper, glue, and scissors, then use them to act out the story. Your students will soon be copying you and creating their own wonderful creatures (see Snow Bear image below right). Rather than using worksheets, where everybody’s animals look the same, trust your students to come up with their own wonderful critters.
Reading and rereading stories to your students will provide them with a diet rich in language, and give you opportunities to introduce new vocabulary.
More than worksheets
Teaching literacy is so much more than handing out phonics worksheets or having students plod through workbooks.
- Tell stories verbally
- Sing songs and chant poems with your students
- Bring interesting objects related to the stories into the classroom and discuss them
- Show large pictures of people from other cultures to help students learn words to describe their world
- Try to have at least two relaxed read aloud sessions a day in your routine.
Teaching literacy with predictable Winter books
Read and reread Rain by Robert Kalan and Donald Crews.
- Make mini-books based on the book such as, “Snow on the green grass, snow on the purple flower” or “Frost on the… ”
- Encourage kids to come up with different ideas from the book
- Create your own ending to match the style of the book, such as a big snowman on the last page.
Teaching Literacy with a Winter Writing Center
- Prepare little books for the children to draw in, such as “Winter, winter what is winter?”
- Photocopy the frame sentence “Winter is ____” on each page
- Add words with pictures, to the writing center bulletin board for the children to copy.
- As always, model the activity to the group first using a larger version of what you would like them to do. E.g. Winter is cold snow, winter is snowmen, winter is hot chocolate…
- Choose books with large clear illustrations so the children sitting at the back of the group can see them too.
- I found that many books use too many pronouns, making it difficult for young children to follow the story. It is easy to substitute nouns to make comprehension easier for them. For example in a story about a dog and its bone the text might read, “He took it over there”. When reading the story out loud the first few times, I would substitute, “The dog took his bone over to the couch.”
Teaching literacy is an all day activity
Whether you are conducting a science experiment or cooking with your students, there are abundant opportunities for reading, writing, and language awareness. Create reading and writing centers in your classroom and give the centers frequent attention.
Make visiting the school library an exciting event. Make your students special “Library Passports” that the librarian stamps with each visit. Your students will soon catch your enthusiasm about reading and writing.
Teaching Literacy with Winter Books
- Read books about the New Year, the order of months, month by month books
- Do a Jan Brett author study.
- Compare Jan Brett’s books, her illustration style, her use of borders. The children are soon able to name her as the author just by looking at the book covers.
- Put Jan Brett books into your winter book display.
Teach literacy by reading and rereading stories with winter themes
Joyful illustrations and the simple text of Snow (I Can Read It All By Myself Beginner Books), by P.D. Eastman make it a great read.
White Snow, Bright Snow by Alvin Treselt and Roger Duvoisin First published in 1947, “White Snow, Bright Snow” captures the wonder children feel during a snowfall.
The Mitten by Jan Brett – Kids love Jan Brett’s story about the snowy white mitten and love to join in after a few readings.
The Mitten by Alvin Tresselt. Another version of this great tale.