Family Activities: Activities for Grades 4-6
1. Ask your child to locate, write down, and explain to you ten abbreviations found in the classified ads of the newspaper. Extension: Younger children can locate fewer and simpler abbreviations such as: Rd., St., Ga., and Yr.
2. Ask your child to find and cut out all of the words in one section of the newspaper that describe size, such as small, huge or big.
3. Invite your child to look through the newspaper and find and cut out pictures of things their grandparents probably did not have when they were young. Then ask the child to arrange the pictures into categories such as tools, appliances or food products.
4. Have the child choose six headlines to rewrite using synonyms (words that mean the same or nearly the same). Tell them to be sure to use the same. number of words and not to change the meaning of the original headlines. Extension: For younger children, select specific words from headlines and have them give a word or words that mean nearly the same.
5. Ask your child to find and cut out at least four newspaper examples of two-syllable words and four examples of three-syllable words. Then have them mark the correct syllable divisions for each word. Help your child use a dictionary to check his syllable divisions.
6. Let the child cut out naming words (nouns) and action words (verbs) from the newspaper. Draw two intersecting circles on a piece of paper. Ask the child to paste the naming words (nouns) in one circle, the action words (verbs) in the other circle, and words that may be used to name or describe action in the intersecting section.
7. Ask your child to choose a newspaper article that they find interesting. After they have read the article, have the child circle a simple sentence, underline a compound sentence, and write down a complex sentence. Then have them rewrite the complex sentence as two or more simple sentences.
8. Have your child use the newspaper index to locate the Ann Landers or Dear Abby column. Then have them select a letter and its reply and rewrite them supplying antonyms (words that mean the opposite) whenever possible. Variation: Clip the reply from the original letter and have the child pretend to be the advice columnist and write a response to the letter.
9. Have the child look through the retail advertisements in the newspaper and select an ad that is filled with descriptive words praising the product. Then have them copy the ad but change each adjective to a word that means the opposite.
10. Give your child one section of the newspaper and have them find at least five examples each of compound words, contractions and plurals. Tell the child to circle the compound words, underline the contractions, and draw a box around the plural words. Extension: Younger children may do one of these activities rather than all of them.
11. Ask the child to find an interesting news photo and cut it out. Then have them write three sentences about the picture: (1) What happened just before the picture was taken? (past); (2) What is happening in the picture now? (present); and (3) What will happen next? (future). Extension: Younger children can tell rather than write their responses to before, now, and future.
12. Have the child select two or three newspaper pictures that show action. For each picture, have them read the caption and then use that information to write down the cause and effect of the action shown.
13. Using a newspaper sports story that describes the outcome of a game, ask the child to underline the verbs in the story. Then have them write down the verbs and a synonym (a word that means nearly the same) that could be used to replace each of the underlined words.
14. Ask your child to find and write down examples of as many contractions (example: can´t) as they can find from one page or section of the newspaper. Then have the child write down the uncontracted form (example: cannot) of the words and use them in sentences.
15. Ask the child to select a large retail advertisement. Discuss the concepts of fact and opinion with the child. Fact is something which can be proved and opinion is what someone thinks about the product but which may reflect personal ideas and preferences rather than fact. Then have the child read the ad and decide which statements are facts and which are opinions. Have them underline the facts twice and the opinions once.
16. Remind your child that a proper noun is the name of a specific person, place, or thing. It usually appears with the first letter capitalized. Choose one page of the newspaper and ask the child to circle as many proper nouns as can be found on the page.
17. Have the child pretend that your family is going on a vacation. Ask them to draw a large suitcage on a piece of paper. From the newspaper, have the child cut pictures and words of things which could be needed or enjoyed on the trip. Remind the youngster that the items selected should all fit into the suitcase. Then have the child arrange the items in alphabetical order. Extension: Younger children can omit the last step of the activity.
18. Choose and cut out several simple articles from the newspaper. Cut the headlines from the articles. Have the child read the articles and try to match the separate headlines with the appropriate articles.
19. Help your child to locate a simple article. Then cut away the headline, and remove it from view while the youngster reads the article. Have them read the story, then write a headline for it, and finally compare it with the original headline. Discuss the similarities and differences between the two.
20. Help the child locate an article containing several paragraphs. Cut the article apart to separate the paragraphs. Then ask the child to write a headline for each of the paragraphs.
21. Ask the youngster to choose and read a comic strip. Have them circle every word with a vowel combination, such as ea, oa, ee or au in the comic strip. Afterwards, the child may write original sentences using these words. Extension: Younger children may omit the last step of the activity or tell their sentences to you.
22. Ask the child to cut out five or more newspaper photos of people and paste each one on a sheet of paper. Then have them use the classified ads to find a job for each person. Let the child cut out the ads and paste them under the appropriate person´s picture and write a sentence or two explaining why each person is qualified for the chosen job. (Note: This can be done in a serious or a humorous way.)
23. Let your child look for a photo of an interesting person in the newspaper. Have them study the picture and then write a description of the person, putting in as much detailed information as possible without actually naming the person. Have the child see if someone else can find the person´s picture in the paper by using the description.
24. Help your child find an article that tells about some kind of problem. Have them read the article and decide what is the cause and what is the effect of the problem and write these down.
25. Ask your child to look through the newspaper headlines and ads to find words that tell who, what, when and where. Have them cut out these words and put in appropriate envelopes which have been labeled who, what, when and where. Have them choose one word from each envelope and make up a silly sentence using these words. See how many silly sentences can be made from the selected words.
26. Look through the classified section of the newspaper with your child and locate and read together sample ads of items for sale. Ask the child to write a short ad for an item they might sell and help them try to conform to the appropriate format of an ad, using as few words as possible.
Modified from Ira Gordon´s DESIRABLE TEACHING BEHAVIORS: Stevie Hoffman, University of Missouri, Columbia.