Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Using Christmas Songs for Literacy Learning ... + a freebie!

Hello, Teaching Friends!

Have you heard one of your little ones singing Christmas songs under her breath ... or more likely a whole table full of your kiddos belting songs out at full volume, accompanied by lots of laughing? Our kids are just so.... well, jolly at this time of year. So, why not use that enthusiasm for some extra literacy learning?

This little collection of holiday songs can be the basis of lots of December literacy experiences in your classroom. There are three songs here, chosen because they're most likely familiar to your students, they're somewhat secular (to keep them usable in more of your classrooms), and they're all in the public domain. You'll probably want to expand your collection by adding the songs your students love! I'll bet your music teacher will have some suggestions, too.

The words to a lot of seasonal songs are already familiar to many of our little ones. That knowledge will give your struggling learners the support they need to make the song reading activities successful for them. They'll also be helped by the wider than usual spacing between words and the extra spacing between lines.

How can you use the song sheets in your classroom?

* Show the lyrics on your interactive board or copy them on posterboard.  Demonstrate directional movement, return sweep, and one-to-one match. Discuss the vocabulary.  Frame phrases for fluency practice. Note and discuss punctuation, especially the commas. Practice intonation.

* Make individual copies and assemble little song books for each child. Spend a few minutes each day singing the songs together. Teach strategies, like keeping your place on multiple lines of text by moving your finger down the left margin as you read each new line. Sneaky Teacher Tip: As your students practice this strategy, you'll be able to quickly observe who's really reading and who's just singin' along with the gang!

* Write the words to a song on sentence strips. Then cut apart and have students reassemble them as a pocket chart literacy center activity. Be sure to keep a complete copy of the song nearby for those who need the extra support. You might put a cute holiday pencil or an small ornament glued to a dowel as a pointer in this center, to encourage one-to-one matching.

Use copies of the song sheets for word work. Think of the possibilities! Highlight (they do love those highlighters, don't they?? ) word wall words, capital letters, rhyming words, punctuation, multi-syllable words, vowels, digraphs,...

Performances! Use holiday songs as Readers Theater. Have groups of students read alternate lines or verses. Be wandering carolers on the day before break, reading some carols and singing others.

* Do you use Song and Poem Notebooks? Copy the carols for rereading all through the school year.

Click here to download your set!

How will you integrate Christmas songs into your literacy program?

Happy Teaching!


  1. Love this idea of using the Christmas songs! Great way for students to practice fluency!
    Conversations in Literacy

  2. Thank you, Lori! What other songs do you plan to use?

  3. Good idea!!!
    Wish you a very Happy Christmas!!May god bless you!!!
    JingleBells Jinglebells

  4. God bless you also! Thank you for the Jingle Bells video link. It's a great way to show students a picture of a one-horse open sleigh!


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