Valentine's Day is not just a day for your child to show friends and family how much they mean to him — the holiday also provides your little one with wonderful opportunities for authentic reading and writing. Here are three simple and engaging ways to make holiday fun with your child while also building literacy skills.
1. Set Up a Card-Making Station
Encourage your child to easily create — and write — cards for all of her 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. Read Your Child’s Most Loved Book
Any day is a great day to read aloud with your child — whatever her age. Add a Valentine’s twist by asking your child to choose the book (or books) she loves most for you to read. Or, choose one of the following love-filled titles to enjoy together.
Board Books (Infants - Age 2)
Whooo Loves You? by Sandra Magsamen is the sweetest book to share with your littlest Valentines. They’ll love the interactive, lift-the-flap illustrations featuring adorable animals sharing the cutest messages of love.
Baby Faces: Hugs and Kisses by Roberta Grobel Intrater is a fun book to explore with your baby, toddler or preschooler. Give your child each of the lovely hugs and kisses shared in the story for a lovely bonding moment together.
Picture Books (Age 3- 5)
In The Littlest Valentine by Brandi Dougherty a small girl finds a special friend just in time for Valentine’s Day, reminding us all that “everyone needs a little love on Valentine’s Day.”
In the very funny I Need a Hug by Aaron Blabey, a prickly porcupine is in search of a hug but those he asks are deterred by his spikes.
How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You? by Jane Yolen is a beautiful reminder of the everlasting love between family members — even when our littlest dinosaurs are testing our patience!
Early Chapter Books (Age 5- 9)
In Warm Hearts Day (Owl Diaries Book 5) by Rebecca Elliott Eva is excitedly making special treats and gifts to share with her friends at the Warm Hearts Day party. What will Eva do when she realizes that time is running out and she has forgotten to make gifts for her family?
When Juliet the Valentine Fairy (by Daisy Meadows) has her magical objects stolen by the pesky Jack Frost the holiday is in danger of being ruined! His wicked actions have caused everyone to be at odds with each other — even best friends, Rachel and Kirsty. Can they overcome their differences to help Juliet make Valentine’s Day special again?