Celebrate turkeys, gratitude, autumn, family, November, and all things Thanksgiving-related using these fun Thanksgiving reading activities.
During the holiday season, fun and learning can go hand-in-hand. That’s what these Thanksgiving reading activities aim to do.
Using these activities, not only will students boost their reading comprehension skills, but they will also explore new ideas and learning styles.
So go ahead and pencil into your reader’s workshop lesson plans a few of these engaging Thanksgiving reading activities.
Related: Thanksgiving writing activities
Thanksgiving Reading Activities
1. Complete a Reading Graphic Organizer.
For this Thanksgiving reading activity, students complete a reading graphic organizer that pertains to a particular reading skill.
As an example, if students are reading a book about the first Thanksgiving, they could possibly fill in a fact and opinion graphic organizer.
There are a variety of reading skills and graphic organizers from which to choose.
2. Summarize a Thanksgiving Video.
Integrate video into your Thanksgiving reading activities.
Have students watch this very entertaining Thanksgiving video.
Afterwards, they summarize the video and then make a list of all the things that they are thankful for.
If time permits, encourage a few students to share their lists.
3. Create a Book of Poems.
For this activity, students create a book of five Thanksgiving-themed poems.
You may need to review the various types of poems with students before assigning this activity.
The book must contain the following information:
- figurative and descriptive language
- similes or metaphors
4. Answer Reading Comprehension Questions.
Of all the Thanksgiving reading activities, this one takes the least amount of preparation.
After the teacher reads aloud a Thanksgiving-themed book, students respond in their reader-response notebooks to reading comprehension questions.
5. Brainstorm Leveled Questions.
Encourage students to think critically by challenging them to create leveled reading questions.
For this Thanksgiving reading activity, it’s helpful if the whole class is using the same book.
In pairs, students read a book and then brainstorm a list of leveled questions that correlate with it.
Have pairs share their questions, and see if classmates can answer them.
6. Compare and Contrast Two Books or Characters.
For this activity, students choose a pair of something: either two books or two characters from the same book.
Students use a Venn diagram or T-chart to compare and contrast two books or two characters.
7. Make a Quiz.
After reading an independent reading book, students create a quiz to accompany the book.
Quizzes may be multiple choice, paragraph form, fill-in-the-blank, etc.
8. Review Reading Skills Using Thanksgiving Task Cards.
Similar to reading passages, task cards offer students the opportunity to practice a variety of literacy skills.
Provide students with a set of literacy-based task cards with a Thanksgiving theme.
They respond to the questions on each card in their reader response notebooks.
9. Conduct Historical Research.
Thanksgiving is a good topic for research. There are a variety of Thanksgiving-related topics from which to choose.
To get started, give pairs of students a Thanksgiving research topic.
Thanksgiving research topic ideas:
- The first Thanksgiving
- Native American tribes during that time
- Sarah Josepha Hale
- Life of the pilgrims
- Pilgrim clothing
- Colonial recipes
- History of the Mayflower
- History of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
- Why we celebrate Thanksgiving
- Thanksgiving symbols
- Weather during Mayflower journey
- Mayflower Compact
- Life on the Mayflower
- Current cultural traditions
Model how to use a student-friendly research website to find information about that specific topic.
Students record their findings in their social studies notebooks or on a research graphic organizer.
10. Go On a Text Features Scavenger Hunt.
For this activity, student pairs choose a favorite fiction or non-fiction Thanksgiving-themed book.
They then search the book, looking for various types of text features.
They record in their reader response notebooks or on a graphic organizer how each particular text feature helps them understand the text better.
11. Collaborate With Brainstorming Words Activity.
Brainstorming Words is arguably one of the most popular Thanksgiving reading activities.
This activity can be done as a whole class activity, in pairs, or independently.
Here’s how it works…
Students think of all the words they can make using the letters from the word Thanksgiving.
How many total words do you think they’ll be able to find?
12. Report the News.
Students will practice their summarizing skills using this reading activity.
Give students a Thanksgiving reading passage.
After reading, they use the 5 W’s + H (who, what, when, where, why, and how) to summarize the most important parts of the book.
- Who is the story about?
- What is the problem or main events?
- When does the story take place?
- Where does the story take place?
- Why did the author write this book? (or any other appropriate “why” question)
- How does this story connect with other books you’ve read? (or any other appropriate “how” question).
13. Do a Thanksgiving Reader’s Theater.
Motivate students to present in front of their peers by assigning a Thanksgiving reader’s theater.
Thanksgiving reader’s theaters are fantastic because unlike other plays, they don’t require any fancy props or costumes.
Students have a simple script, they practice it a few times, and then perform the short play for peers or parents.
When practicing the reader’s theater script, students strengthen their reading comprehension, reading fluency, accuracy, and expression.
Final Thoughts: Thanksgiving Reading Activities
Using these engaging Thanksgiving reading activities, reading workshop will be a bit more exciting.
Students are going to be more enthusiastic about reading, and you’ll nurture an atmosphere of celebration without taking the focus off learning.