As Thanksgiving approaches, you may be looking for activities that integrate the holiday but aren’t just fluff. That’s why I’m sharing some of my favorite Thanksgiving reading activities for students in grades 3, 4, and 5. These activities will keep them interested in your November ELA lesson plans but also still hit the standards. That’s especially important at a time of year when lots of teacher evaluations are happening!
Thanksgiving Books to Read Aloud
These Thanksgiving read-alouds are perfect to review skills like making inferences, summarizing, identifying character traits, making predictions, and more. I love these for interactive read alouds, paired texts, and for mentor texts in writing workshop.
Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet is one of my favorite ways to introduce narrative nonfiction. I love hooking kids before I read by showing them photos from the Macy’s parade! Plus there are lots of great STEM activities you can pair with it.
Squanto’s Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving by Joseph Bruchac tells the story of Thanksgiving from the native peoples’ perspective. This is another great literary nonfiction book and it works well for exploring the first-person point-of-view. Another book you may want to have in your classroom library to dive into the real history behind this holiday is 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving by Catherine O’Neill Grace.
The Scarecrow by Beth Ferry is great for practicing making predictions, inferring character traits, and identifying theme.
Hello, Harvest Moon by Ralph Fletcher is a good mentor text to have on hand at Thanksgiving. You can use this book to model descriptive writing, visualizing, figurative language, and sensory details. Definitely one that you can use both in reading and writing.
Thanksgiving Reading Passages
One of my favorite reading units to teach is functional text so that students learn to comprehend text that they see in the real world. Since it’s such an important skill, I always include functional text in my reading passage sets.
This set of Thanksgiving passages with comprehension questions includes a fiction passage, a flier, and a magazine article. The texts include engaging topics and the types of questions that students will see on end-of-year tests.
Having a no-prep set like this one is so helpful when you’re creating your November lesson plans! These passages and questions hit all kinds of reading strategies such as inferring, summarizing, identifying author’s purpose, and using nonfiction text features.
Thanksgiving Word Analysis Practice
I also love these Thanksgiving word analysis practice activities. They’re the perfect bite-size way to keep your students reviewing vocabulary skills all month long.
This makes it super easy for them to practice using word analysis strategies like prefixes and suffixes, synonyms and antonyms, context clues, homophones, and dictionary skills.
It can be tough to balance holiday fun in the classroom with rigorous lesson plans. These Thanksgiving reading activities make it easy to keep students engaged in their learning while practicing important ELA comprehension skills. Let me know what other favorite activities you like to use in your reading workshop around Thanskgiving!