Valentine’s Day Literacy Activities
One of the best parts of working with first graders is the excitement that comes with the holidays! Every year when February approaches, we work hard to plan a fun Valentine’s Day activity for our first grade students.
Of course, we are also conscientious of it being a fun and educational activity. A holiday gives us the opportunity to review or re-teach literacy skills in a new and exciting way.
Why use holidays to teach literacy?
First of all, we want to say that not every holiday activity needs to be educational! Planning an activity just for fun is always encouraged. However, we are strong believers in taking engagement where we can get it – and running with it!
Holidays, such as Valentine’s Day, are a great way to add excitement and novelty to an “old” (aka familiar) concept, like literacy. As we know, the more enthusiasm we can bring to the classroom, the more likely students are retaining what we teach.
Holidays are also perfect for making connections and developing vocabulary. With popular holidays like Valentine’s Day, students can make connections to their own life, books, or even media where they have observed themes of this holiday. There may even be new vocabulary terms that come with the holiday.
This is why Valentine’s Day literacy activities are perfect. They capitalize on the anticipation of the holiday and help students reengage in literacy.
We’ve had some hit and miss holiday activities along the way, so we want to share with you our favorite Valentine’s Day literacy activities that will knock your student’s socks off this February.
Valentine’s Day Story Retell Activities
The skill of retelling is really important to comprehension. Retelling is the foundation to more complex skills such as summarizing and synthesizing, so you can never spend too much time practicing. By using a beginning, middle, end graphic organizer, we can guide our students through the process of retelling.
We really like using this Valentine’s Day activity for first grade because it focuses on retelling and challenges students’ thinking.
❤️ In this resource, students are given increasingly difficult sequential stories.
❤️ They match images in the correct order using a beginning, middle, end graphic organizer.
❤️ Students’ skills are also pushed to the next level by writing a retell using images and a word bank.
❤️ This activity can be used in a small group or as a whole class.
The Valentine’s Day theme is woven throughout the stories, images, and word bank in this resource. Our students especially loved reading the real life stories! Their favorites are the cooking passages where they read about making heart-shaped cookies and Valentine’s desserts. There are always a lot of rumbling stomachs after these passages (and we can’t lie, they leave us wanting dessert, too)!
Your first graders will be challenged and captivated the whole way through!
🎥 Want a new way to reteach the skill? We have a YouTube video that explains retelling for students! This is a great companion to use with your next retell lesson. You can view the video here.
Valentine’s Day Sentence Writing
First graders can always use practice on writing complete sentences! Complete sentences and sentence structure are important to writing clearly. By mastering this skill at a younger grade level, students will have more success in the future as sentences become more complex.
This Valentine’s Day literacy activity will reinforce students’ knowledge of sentence structure, with a focus on subjects, verbs, punctuation, and capitalization. We always find that the scaffolding from identification to editing to writing does wonders for our students (which this resource focuses on). We always have students who share how much they love writing after this activity. Win for us, win for them!
❤️ This resource is a great review of sentence structure, and the Valentines Day thematic element will reengage students in the skill!
❤️ This resource comes in print and digital task cards and is easy to implement in your classroom (all you have to do is download!).
❤️ It also offers visual support throughout, so you can differentiate for all levels of learners.
🎥 SAVE YOUR VOICE! We have a YouTube video on writing complete sentences that’s perfect for your first graders! You can watch the video here.
We hope these activity ideas are useful! Don’t forget – Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about literacy, but using the holiday and its vocabulary can help your first grade students grow in new ways.
Looking for a sentence writing review? Grab our FREE Sentence Writing Resource here.