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December Reading Activities for Upper Elementary

December – the one word that can evoke so many different thoughts and feelings.  Everything from busy, crazy, hectic and stressed, to family, traditions and rest.  And that’s just at home!  In the classroom busy and hectic is often combined with hard to engage and lack of focus.  But, we can use the holidays to engage our students in learning when the holidays are all that is on their mind.  So fill your language arts lesson plans with these fun and engaging December reading activities for Upper Elementary and then take a few minutes to enjoy this amazing time of year.

December reading activities for the upper elementary classroom

It’s a well known fact that the closer you get to the holidays and a school break, the harder it is for your students to focus and stay engaged in the learning process.  But there is one exception!  When the activity is holiday based, students seem to engage almost instantly.  Not only does the engagement help with learning, but it also makes a timely connection to our students’ lives.  Fill your language arts lesson plans with these December activities and know that your students will be engaged and learning on important skills.

December Reading Comprehension

December reading comprehension activities for centers

Fill your reading comprehension lessons with all things Christmas and meet some social studies standards too!  Your students will practice reading strategies and comprehension as they work on these December themed reading comprehension passages:

  1. Christmas themed reading comprehension passagesThe Poinsetta
  2. Cookies, Cookies!
  3. Christmas Traditions Around the World
  4. The National Christmas Tree
  5. A Visit from St. Nicholas (poetry)

Each of these reading passages and questions provides a great opportunity for students to work on skills like reading for details, word meaning, text analysis and more.

There are many ways you can use these passages in the classroom.  Teach reading comprehension skills using a passage as part of a whole class lesson.  You can also easily use these passages as independent practice, homework or for small group instruction.

These passages are also easily used as part of close reading lessons.  With close reading, you use the same passage for multiple days, each day focusing on a different skill.

December ELA Games and Activities

December reading centers

Take any skill or concept and make a game out of it and chances are your students will love it!  There’s something about playing games that just makes learning fun.  Don’t we all love learning when it doesn’t feel like learning?

Santa’s Sleigh ABC Order

Alphabetical order is a skill that will help our students for many years to come.  This fun, hands-on card game will challenge your students to see just how quickly they can flip over the cards and put them in order.  There are sure to be lots of fast moving hands and giggles as they race to see how quickly they can order all of the gifts from Santa’s sleigh.

Santa's sleigh ABC order center activity

Fact or Opinion Sorting Center

Help your students master identifying facts and opinions with this hands-on sorting activity.  Students will read the December themed sentences and then sort them into groups.  This can be done using a pocket chart, a table or even the floor!

fact and opinion sorting center for December

More Fun with Facts and Opinions

This no prep fact or opinion worksheet is another fun activity your students will love.  Here students will color the gifts to show if the corresponding sentence is a fact or an opinion.  A great review or practice activity for morning work, homework or to add to a center.

Christmas gift fact or opinion worksheet


Christmas themed homophone matching game

This memory matching style game will have your students reading and matching homophones in no time.  Students will love working on identifying the homophones and trying to remember where they saw a match.  A great opportunity for working on spelling and building vocabulary too!

December Writing Fun

To round out the lesson plans, we can’t forget about writing.  All of your students, even those reluctant writers, will love these December themed writing activities.

A Holiday Haiku

a holiday haiku writing activity for upper elementary

This guided haiku writing activity will walk your students through the steps of writing a haiku about their favorite holiday memories.  Their final writing will be illustrated and makes a great holiday bulletin board display!

Holiday Descriptive Writing

holiday tradition writing for elementary students

Help your students take their writing to the next level with great descriptions.  Descriptive writing takes practice and what better to practice than describing favorite holiday traditions.  This is a guided writing activity that will help your students plan and brainstorm using the Pre-Writing Worksheet to organize their thoughts.  After that, students can revise and edit before writing and illustrating their final writing.  You can also use this as a quick write if time is limited.

December Reading Centers for Upper Elementary

You can find all of these December language arts activities in this December Reading Centers resource pack.

December reading centers for upper elementary classrooms

More December Learning Fun . . .

If you are looking for more fun and engaging activities for December then make sure to check out:

Save these December Reading Activities

Pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board and save these fun and engaging December reading centers.

December literacy centers for elementary students

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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