Hanukkah words, picture books, and recipes can be used to review alphabetical order, phonics, and reading skills. The seven reading activities below are for preschoolers and elementary-aged children.
1. Alphabetical Order
Children can practice their skills in alphabetical order using these Hanukkah words:
Use the Hanukkah words listed above for phonics word sorting activities. Write the words on index cards, and ask children to sort by initial or final letter(s), or vowel sounds.
3. Memory Matching Game
Young readers can practice matching Hanukkah words. Choose six words from the list above. Write each word on two separate cards, and mix the twelve cards up. Lay them down in three rows of four cards. Take turns turning over cards, looking for matching pairs of words.
Read Hanukkah recipes, such as latkes, and make delicious treats for the holiday. Students can practice their reading skills while following written directions. Latkes are a hot, fried, food that require adult help and supervision.
5. Read Aloud
Read Hanukkah books out loud, and discuss the characters, setting, and plot of each story. Here is a list of picture books to introduce children to the meaning of Hanukkah:
An Adventure in Latkaland: A Hanukkah Story, by Karen Fisman (Jora Books, October 1, 2010)
Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, by Eric A. Kimmel (Holiday House, September 1, 1994)
The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes, by Linda Glaser (Albert Whitman & Company, September 1, 1997)
Moishe’s Miracle, by Laura Krauss Melmed (Chronicle Books; 1st Chronicle Books Ed edition, October 13, 2005)
Latkes, Latkes, Good to Eat: A Chanukah Story, by Naomi Howland (Sandpiper; Reprint edition, September 20, 2004)
Mrs. Greenberg’s Messy Hanukkah, by Linda Glaser (Albert Whitman & Company; Reprint edition, January 1, 2004)
Hanukkah Moon, by Deborah Da Costa (Kar-Ben Publishing, September 1, 2007)
Maccabee!: The Story of Hanukkah, by Tilda Balsley (Kar-Ben Pub, September 2010)
6. Play the Dreidel Game
Children love playing the Dreidel game. Before playing, read a book about the Dreidel game. You will need game pieces and a dreidel to play.
Runaway Dreidel!, by Leslea Newman (Square Fish; Reprint edition, October 2, 2007)
This is the Dreidel, by Abby Levine (Albert Whitman & Company, September 1, 2003)
Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Hanukkah: With Lights, Latkes, and Dreidels, by Deborah Heiligman (National Geographic Children's Books, October 14, 2008), includes directions for playing the game.
7. Hanukkah Drama
Retell the Hanukkah story. After reading the history of Hanukkah, encourage students to act it out. Older students can write a script and create costumes and props.
The Story of Hanukkah, by David Adler, provides a history of Hanukkah for children. Look for it at your local library, or at Amazon.com.