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November Reading Activities for Upper Elementary

November starts the very busy, and often crazy, holiday season.  Actually, it seems to really kick into gear with the week leading up to Halloween.  But finding fun and engaging lessons and classroom activities doesn’t have to be one of the things that is added to your busy schedule.  These November reading activities are the perfect way to get your planning done and still have time for the holiday prep and holiday fun!

November reading activities are a great way to fill your lesson plans with fun skills based activities

November Reading Activities

November reading activities for reading comprehensionYour students are going to love these November themed non-fiction reading passages.  These high interest passages will have your students learning about National Sandwich Day, Veteran’s Day, Eat a Cranberry Day and the first Thanksgiving.

Each passage includes a non-fiction reading text that was designed for 3rd – 5th grade students.  The related reading comprehension questions work on a variety of important comprehension skills.  Here’s just a few of the skills your students will work on with these November reading activities:

  • reading for details
  • vocabulary
  • supporting answers with text evidence
  • writing short answer responses

In addition to the nonfiction passages, this November resource also includes a poem with related questions.  Poetry is one of the genres that is most difficult for students, so practicing poetry comprehension throughout out the year can really help.

November poetry reading and comprehension questions

November Center Games

A well rounded reading program includes other language arts skills because they go hand in hand.  Students understandings of words and how they are used often goes back to grammar.  The more students learn about words and language the better their reading comprehension becomes.  Your students will love these grammar games and activities.

1. Fun with Cause and Effect

Cause and Effect matching gameYour students will love working on the skill of cause and effect with these two fun activities.

This memory style cause and effect matching game is lots of fun for partners or small groups.  Students will turn over two cards and decide if they are a cause and effect match.  There are sure to be lots of giggles as mismatched cards will create some very silly sentences!

You can also use these cards as part of a whole class lesson.  Simple choose one card and read it to the class or small group.  Then let them decide if the phrase would be the cause or the effect.  Then you can go one step further and have them decide what a good match might be.

For example if you turn over the card says “Because Thanksgiving dinner is special,” you would then ask your students if it is cause or an effect.  Since this is a cause you could then have your class brainstorm effects that would match.  Some answers might include: we have lots of foods we don’t normally eat; we invite over lots of family members, I can choose two desserts instead of just one.

Thanksgiving cause and effect activityThis cause and effect turkey is also a fun way to practice identifying causes and effects.  Here students will read a sentence and decide if the underlined part of the sentence is a cause or effect.  Then they will color the coordinating turkey feather with the appropriate color.

2. Simile and Metaphors

Another great skill that really helps students reading comprehension is understanding similes and metaphors.  As students run across similes and metaphors in their reading they are better able to determine the meaning, thus leading to a better understanding of the story.

This Simile and Metaphor sorting activity is a great way to get in lots of practice, without it feeling like a lot of practice!  Students can use the sorting cards and sentences in a pocket chart, on the floor or on a table top.  Working with a partner is a great way for students to work together, help each other and practice supporting their decision with a reason.

Simile and Metaphor identification sorting game

But this sorting activity doesn’t have to be just for reading centers.  Use the sentence cards for a whole class or small group activity too!  As you read the sentence, students can do a hand motion or action to show if it is a simile or a metaphor.

3. ABC Order Game

Turkey Dinner Alphabetical order activityWorking on ABC order?  Instead of providing students with a list of words, let them think of their own words!  It reminds me of a Scattergories type game, without everything needing to start with the same letter.  For this game students will think of 12 items they would like to have for Thanksgiving dinner.  Once their list is complete then they will put those words into alphabetical order.

Add an element of competition by timing students, or let them work with a partner with each person taking a turn. For a bigger challenge, have all the words start with the letter or sound.  This will help students working on alphabetizing past the first letter.

November Writing Fun

November is the perfect time to work on adjectives and descriptive writing.  And what better to describe than the Thanksgiving dinner menu!  Challenge students to make your mouth water with their descriptive writings.  This guided writing activity has students starting with brainstorming foods and words to describe them.  You can also use the Thanksgiving dinner ABC order activity as the food list for this writing activity too!

Then students will use their brainstorming to create descriptive sentences to describe their favorite turkey dinner treats!  You can even challenge students to incorporate their learning about similes and metaphors to add some extra pizazz to their writing!

descriptive writing activity for Thanksgiving

Another fun activity for working on descriptive writing and parts of speech is writing a diamante poem.  Students will use the provided form to create this diamond shaped poem filled with nouns, verbs and adjectives.  Writing poems like this are a great way to engage even the most reluctant of writers.  Once they realize that the entire assignment can be completed with only writing words, they are hooked!  It’s a great way to put writing concepts into action without going through the entire writing process.

Students will love writing their poems about something they are thankful for.  Not only is this activity fun, but it is also a great way to get to know a little more about your students.

thankful diamante poem is a great way to practice descriptive writing and parts of speech

Fill Those Lesson Plans and Save Time!

Your students are going to love these engaging November reading activities and you are going to be confident knowing that they are working on important reading and writing skills.  And the best part is that you you can do both of these things without spending hours preparing.  You can find all of these November reading activities in this one resource pack:

November reading activities

Looking for More Resources for the holidays?

November and December are great times to connect the season and holidays to classroom learning.  Here’s some fun and engaging skills-based activities your students will love!

If you’re not quite ready for these November reading and writing activities, then pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can come back when you are.

November reading activities for upper elementary classroom


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Amy Hughes

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I'm Shelly Rees of Appletastic Learning. First and foremost, I'm a mom of 4 boys, wife of 25 years to Aric, and Wyoming girl at heart. I love being creative, making resources for teachers, baking cookies, Diet Coke, teaching, public speaking, and spreading kindness wherever I can. After teaching in the upper elementary grades for over 23 years, I retired early and focused on creating and helping teachers around the world with my teaching ideas and resources. I also serve as a mentor to hundreds of teacherpreneurs and help them get focused on growing their own successful businesses. With 100% honesty, I LOVE my life! Thanks for visiting! I hope you'll stay awhile and come back often. Read More

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