Valentine's Day is not just a day for your child to show friends and family how much they mean to him, it also provides your little one wonderful opportunities for authentic reading and writing. Here are five simple and engaging exercises to help your child have fun while building literacy skills.
1. Set Up a Card-Making Station
Encourage your child to easily create – and write – cards for all of his family and friends by establishing this simple, special space. Begin by gathering card-making supplies and arranging them neatly on a table or desk. You could include:
- Colored cardstock pieces, folded to form cards
- Heart stickers
- Sheets of Valentine’s gift wrap or scrapbooking paper
- Scraps of colored paper
- Felt tip marker pens
- Glue stick
For early writers, add some word card prompts including words like "To," "Love," "From" and "Happy Valentine’s Day," writing each word clearly on an index card.
You might also like to include a checklist of names to help your child spell the names of family members or classmates, and assist in future name recognition.
2. Write Acrostic Poems
Acrostic poems are one of the simplest forms of poetry, most commonly made by using the initial letters of a word as prompts for words or short sentences that describe the word being used. Encourage your child to have a go at creating an acrostic poem with a friend’s name your child is giving his Valentine’s card to. Here’s an example:
3. Choose a Valentine’s Day Craft
Craft projects are a wonderful tool for getting kids reading with a purpose, as they need to follow a series of instructions in order to complete the craft. Projects that include simple instructions, like those in this Message in a Puzzle Valentine, are perfect for allowing kids to take the lead in completing the craft.
4. Laugh With a Valentine-Themed Mad Libs
Mad Libs are great for creating silly stories while also reviewing parts of speech with independent writers. This printable Valentine’s Day Mad Libs is terrific for a holiday giggle.
5. Read Your Child’s Most Loved Books
Any day is a great day to read aloud with your child — whatever his age. Add a Valentine’s twist by asking your child to choose the book (or books) he loves most for you to read together. For those with independent readers, my nine-year-old and I love taking turns to read a page each. It offers me insight into what she is reading at the moment, and an opportunity to hear how her reading is progressing. And if your child doesn't have a favorite book, you can choose to read one of these love-filled picture books in the spirit of the holiday.
I hope these ideas inspire you to share literacy love with your child this Valentine’s Day.
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