I recently came across the adorable board book, Five Little Thank-Yous by Cindy Jin (illustrated by Dawn M. Cardona). Shaped like a hand turkey, this little Thanksgiving book is a perfect introduction to a discussion about gratitude! Read on to access a free follow-up book activity.
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When you’re finished with this post, you might want to check out this fun post full of Pumpkin Pie Thanksgiving Activities and Freebies!
Thanksgiving Read-Aloud: Five Little Thank-Yous
First, know that Five Little Thank-Yous by Cindy Jin is a board book. While board books are typically designed for babies and toddlers, they are actually really fun to use in a kindergarten classroom. This one in particular, with its fun hand-turkey shape, is very appealing and sturdy. After you read this one to your class, kids will enjoy handling it and re-reading it on their own.
Because it’s a board book, Five Little Thank-Yous is small. If you have a document camera, consider reading this one aloud to your whole group from there. Projecting the book will ensure that everyone can see the pictures. No worries, if you don’t, though. It’s not THAT tiny and the pictures are bright and simple.
Here’s what you’ll find as you read Five Little Thank-Yous to your class:
The front cover is an adorable hand turkey with rainbow-colored feathers. Each of the five following page spreads features one of the five tail feather colors. Children can connect this with subitizing and might notice that the page colors are in the same order as the feather (finger) colors.
Each of the two-page spreads features an illustration and a rhyming sentence telling about one thing the narrator is thankful for. The examples included in this book are family, food, friends, love, and “to be the one and only special me.” The book ends with a “Happy Thanksgiving!” greeting.
Using Five Little Thank-Yous with Your Class
Five Little Thank-Yous is such a sweet and simple introduction to the Thanksgiving season! This little book is quick to read but can lead to a rich discussion about gratitude.
After reading, take some time to go back through the narrator’s reasons for feeling thankful. Have the children use the pictures and words as a starting point to build details. For example, the first page says, “Thank you for this sweet, warm home, blessed with family all my own.” Talk with students about what it means to be thankful for one’s family. Students might notice that the illustration shows a family baking together—use that to lead into other activities that students do with their families, bringing them joy and comfort.
Make a Gratitude Chart
Use the brainstorming session to create an anchor chart filled with your students’ thoughts. Head the chart “Thank you for…” to mirror the pattern of the Five Little Thank-Yous book and to lead into the follow-up writing activity.
A nice thing about short read-alouds like this one is that they leave more time (and attention span) for the follow-up activity! Consider using a shared writing approach to your anchor chart, letting students put the spelling and writing skills you’ve been working on into practice.
My Five Little Thank-Yous Book Activity
Head over to the Free Resource Library to download the template for your students to make their own book about thankfulness! This Thanksgiving activity is great writing practice and will produce a sweet keepsake for families.
Here’s a suggested timeline for this Five Little Thank-Yous Activity:
Print and assemble the books ahead of time. These books are designed to be printed double-sided and each requires three sheets of paper. Instructions are included in the download file.
Day 1: Read the book and brainstorm reasons for gratitude. Record the students’ thoughts on an anchor chart headed, “Thank you for…”
Have students think of one thing for which they are thankful. Ask them to hold their idea in their head and visualize how they could illustrate the thought. Give them a moment to turn and talk to a neighbor, telling their friend the sentence they plan to write.
Distribute the books to the children and have them disperse to their work areas to write their sentences on the first page (and write their names on the cover). Circulate as students write, helping as needed and checking to see that they are writing on the first page. Use day one for writing and illustrating just one reason for gratitude.
Days 2-5: Each day, begin by showing off the beautiful work children did the day before. Draw attention to their brave spelling attempts, neat printing, use of spaces and punctuation, and detailed illustrations.
Then revisit the anchor chart and repeat the process of having students compose a sentence about one new thing for which they are grateful. Have them fill in a new page in their book.
Finally, in a separate session (on Day 5, or any day when you have a little extra time), have the students illustrate their front covers with hand turkeys. If hand turkeys are new to your students, give them the opportunity to practice on scratch paper—tracing their non-dominant hand and then decorating it and coloring it to look like a turkey.
When the books are finished, give students a few opportunities to read and share their books with others—peers, older grade buddies, other teachers, volunteers, etc. This will help them become better writers as they may notice areas that they can edit in the process of sharing.