I don’t know about you, but when February comes, I see a tiny ray of hope. We can notice the days getting just a *tad* longer, March is just around the corner (which means spring!), and we get to celebrate such a fun holiday for the students – Valentine’s Day! And even though there are some sour parts of the month (the weather, for one!), February can still be this sweet spot of the year. This is because kids are well settled into a routine and small groups got a good rhythm going. Regardless of these sweet spots, the winter can still feel long. So we have FIVE ways to keep up engagement during this loveable month! These literacy ideas for February are activities that are sure to add a bit of sweetness into your February routine. Use them just for Valentine’s Day or all month long!
Five Valentine’s Day Activities for February
Valentine’s Day Phonics and Fluency Activities:
- The Details: These four Valentine’s Day Phonics and Fluency Activities cover a wide variety of phonics skills. In the first activity, students will read words in isolation. For the second, they’ll read the words within sentences. Then, they’ll read them within short stories. Finally (and here comes the best part), students will team up with a partner to play a fun roll and read game at the end! Every last activity is adorned in adorable Valentine’s Day images for a fun, seasonal flare. Phonics patterns that are included in these Valentine’s Day activities are CVC words, digraphs, beginning blends, ending blends, added endings, CVCe words, r-controlled vowels, vowel teams, and diphthongs. For activities all year long, grab my GROWING Phonics and Fluency Activities Bundle that will have you pulling them out during every holiday and season!
- The Importance: Since these activities include all things phonics and fluency, you can be sure that they are giving your students what they need. Since a solid phonics foundation is key to future reading success and fluency lends itself to all other areas of literacy (comprehension and vocabulary, for starters), your class will greatly benefit from all of these activities.
- Materials: Valentine’s Day Phonics and Fluency Activities, dice, manipulatives for game pieces
- How To: These can be used during small groups, whole groups, as a literacy center, and as partner work. During small groups, students can work on their individual phonics skills. During whole group, you can pick whichever phonics skill you’d like and know that students are being exposed to grade-level content. For a literacy center, slide these into a dry erase pocket protector and they can make their way through all activities (including the game board) individually. Then, pair up students any way you see fit and have them go head-to-head in the Roll, Read, Race game!
Valentine’s Day Word Work/Letter Activity:
- The Details: There’s nothing better than a quick and simple activity that takes little prep. That’s why I’m placing this one in here because it checks all of those boxes! And you’ll likely have all of the materials already in your room.
- The Importance: In order for students to retain sight words, they need to be introduced to them again and again. This activity does just that as students identify, write, and then say the word out loud. These notecards can be full of sight words or a specific phonics pattern you’d like students to master.
- Materials: markers (make them scented for a fun twist!), notecards, and heart stickers
- How To: First, gather a list of words you’d like your students to practice. These could be sight words you’re working on, words that contain a specific phonics skill, or both! Then, choose if you’re going to write the words on the note cards or your students. After the words are written, give them to each of your students. They should have a small handful. Say a word out loud. Students search for the word and, once found, place a heart sticker on the word. Then, students trace the word. Lastly, students say the word out loud. Repeat the process until all of the words are completed and their desks have a beautiful array of heart stickers!
- Bonus Round: What better month to practice heart words than in February? February is a great time to introduce some new heart words with your students. Why? Because using heart stickers over heart words just makes learning high frequency words just that more loveable! Grab some notecards and a list of high frequency words you’d like them to learn by the end of the month. As you graph them out, kids can use heart stickers to go over the parts of the word they must know “by heart.” For example, on the said notecard, students can write the s in red, the ai in pink, and the d in red again and place a heart sticker over the ai portion – the part they must know by heart.
Valentine’s Day I Am a Reader Passages:
- The Details: These reading passages are specifically designed for early readers who are just gaining strength with their reading abilities. Each passage comes with word work activities, comprehension questions, and encouraging statements that lets kids know: you’re a reader! They’re perfect for an early or emergent reader, like kindergarten. However, they’re also great for struggling readers in 1st, 2nd, or even 3rd grade.
- The Importance: One important aspect of these passages is that they aren’t intimidating for young readers. In fact, they’re intended for quite the opposite! These passages are to encourage young readers as they make their way through the story. The hope behind these passages is to instill confidence and, therefore, a love of reading. In addition to growing their confidence and seeing themselves as readers, they’ll also practice their comprehension skills.
- Materials: Valentine’s Day I Am a Reader Passages, highlighters, pencils
- How To: Simply print off however many copies of the passages you’d like. This will vary depending on your use for them in small groups, whole groups, or as a literacy center. In either setting, students will read the focus words at the top of each page then read the story. After they make their way through the passage, they will answer some comprehension questions. At the end, they will have a blast highlighting (because who doesn’t love that!?) the focus words within the story. A fun twist on this idea is to use highlighter tape – both fun and good for tuning up fine motor skills.
February: Dental Health Month!:
- The Details: Did you know that February is Dental Health Month? I admit that before I was a teacher, I didn’t either! But what better time to take care of your teeth than during the month where candy hearts and gooey chocolates are floating across student desks?
- The Importance: Learning sight words and becoming automatic with them is important for fluency. Students can practice automaticity with notecards once they’ve learned and studied them by phoneme-grapheme-mapping. This activity is best done during this time where students are still learning the sight word and getting used to reading it.
- Materials: Small containers, fake snow, toothbrushes, sight word cards
- How To: Fill the containers with fake snow and place the sight word card near the box. Then, using a toothbrush (because Dental Health Month!), have students write the word in the snow with the toothbrush. For an extra bit of toothy fun, read a fun book about going to the dentist or losing a tooth. Some favorites are: Fancy Nancy and the Too-Loose Tooth, Mrs, Watson Wants Your Teeth, Andrew’s Loose Tooth, and The Night Before the Dentist.
Fluency in February!
- The Details: February is a great time to continue your fluency goals. This time of year students might need that extra “push” since spring is around the corner, yet so far away. This activity below should help your students get that inspiration they need to keep going.
- The Importance: The reason we love to promote fluency so much here at Literacy with Aylin Claahsen is because, well, it’s super important! When a child is fluent in their reading, they are no longer trying to decode each and every word on the page. And because of this, their brain is free to learn vocabulary, read for information, and decipher literary elements of a text. Fluency is the bridge that leads to mature reading.
- Materials: heart reading glasses (find yours at Target!), decodable books, fluency passages
- How To: Place the box of glasses at your guided reading table, center, or small group table. When you’re ready to read a passage (whether that’s a decodable book or a fluency passage), have students grab one of their favorite heart reading glasses to wear as they read! This adds a little fun into your reading routine. They can also even be at a partner reading table since it’s always so fun to read with a buddy who has on some silly glasses! Consider doing this at first or independently, and when they feel confident enough, pull them aside and read to them to assess their growth.
Totally in Love With February?
- Check out the following blog posts for more engaging ideas to make your February even sweeter!