The day had arrived and I wasn’t ready. My son was considering not dressing up for Halloween. My first thought was, did I miss it? Your parents tell you it will go so fast and he isn’t even my oldest child, but they forget to tell you that the shifts are sudden. One day he was talking about Halloween like usual and the next day he said he wasn’t into dressing up – just like that.
To try to keep him little just a little while longer I had to take action. We scrapped the planned lessons and I decided the rest of the month would be spooky learning. We are using games, writing prompts, stories and informational texts for reading comprehension, and stem challenges that all have a Halloween theme. Are you looking for ways to use Halloween in your teaching?
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Halloween Reading Comprehension
Reading comprehension was mostly focused on fiction for years and years. The tide is changing as it becomes obvious that learning how to reading nonfiction (informational) texts is important academically, but also in terms of information consumption.
My first project was to create 3 informational texts about Halloween topics: bats, spiders, and the history of the Jack O’Lantern. These might just be my new favorite thing to create. They are written at a 4-7 grade reading level (depending on how you score them) and the average is 6th grade. Each text has interesting facts that your kids may not know and questions to work through.
What is an informational text?
Informational text is the more descriptive term for nonfiction. The first step is to make sure kids know a little about informational text structures. Informational texts come in one of 5 different types:
- cause & effect
- time order/ sequence
I suggest explicitly teaching text structure. The 3 Halloween informational texts are all descriptive/list structures. If you are looking for ways to teach, check out this free resource.
Cues and Clues
Using these texts for Halloween reading comprehension requires you to teach kids to solve the mystery of how to decode informational texts. In the questions, students are asked to find interesting words, create subtitles, create captions, and use evidence.
BEFORE you ask them to do that, make sure that they understand what all of those things are by modeling it in another text. Start by using a simple text and modeling the text features. If you have a textbook or other informational text, like these, you can show all the features in action.
Text Features in informational texts include:
- diagrams & labels
- font styles: bold, italics, underline, larger, smaller, etc
- headings & subheadings
Suggested Nonfiction Resources:
My Halloween Resource Bundle is on sale right now for 50% off and includes 16 STEM challenge cards, game board, 3 informational texts with questions, informational text vocabulary cards, multiplication cards, story problem cards using multiplication, division, fractions, and percents.
This book gives you a lot of bang for your book and covers deep dish pizza, trick or treating, and more.
This one is free on Kindle Unlimited (Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial) and you can download the Kindle app for free for your computer (Amazon.com – Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices.)
What about fiction?
There are also great fiction stories to use, but the reading comprehension strategies are different. The Reading Mama is my go-to source for all things reading. 7 strategies that come up over and over are:
- making connections
- making inferences
- asking questions
- making mental images
- determining importance
- making predictions
A post about reading and Halloween wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the Goosebumps series…
Using kids’ excitement about any holiday will help them buy-in to what you are teaching. Halloween reading comprehension is just one way. I’m using Halloween as an inspiration across the curriculum.
Back to my story…
After a few days of full Halloween immersion, my son is back on board. This might be my last year when he has decided he still wants to be a kid and I’m going to make it the best I can.