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Lesson Plan

Using Greeting Cards to Motivate Students and Enhance Literacy Skills

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Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 30- to 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Tara Barnstead

Pennsauken, New Jersey


International Literacy Association


Materials and Technology






  • Chart paper

  • Collection of various greeting cards

  • Large manila envelopes

  • Construction paper (assorted colors)

  • Scissors and glue

  • Markers, crayons, or colored pencils

  • Embellishments (e.g., foam cutouts, assorted die cuts)

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1. Visit the Postcard and Greeting Card Museum to review pictures and the history of greeting cards and Peacock Cards For Kids to view some sample cards. You may want to bookmark these websites to show students later if they have never before been to a greeting card store (see Session 3). If you do not have classroom computers with Internet access, reserve a session in your school's computer lab.

2. Gather an assortment of greeting cards. Choose cards that are appropriate for your students' level of word knowledge. For example, gather some cards with limited text and basic vocabulary so that English-language learners (ELLs) and struggling readers will have material they feel comfortable exploring. Additionally, include various holiday and special message cards that will appeal to different students. If time allows, visit a card store and ask the manager if they have any envelopes that they could donate to your classroom. Many stores discard extra and unmatched envelopes.

3. Determine the number of small groups into which your students will be divided. Students can be grouped heterogeneously since you will have a variety of cards that appeal to various ability levels, genders, and interests. You will want to make sure that there is a student who can read independently in each group so that more complex cards can be shared with the rest of the group. Then, number the greeting cards and divide them evenly among large manila envelopes to use during exploration. Be sure to consider all ability levels when you are dividing the cards and write the greeting card numbers on the large envelope so that they are easy to identify in later sessions.

4. Label two pieces of chart paper-one with the heading Types of Greeting Cards and the other with Writing a Greeting Card-for use in Session 1.

5. Print and review the sample Greeting Card Scavenger Hunt. This scavenger hunt contains eight student tasks. The scavenger hunt should be used to review various print concepts. Please note that this generic scavenger hunt may need to be tailored to relate to the greeting cards that you gathered. Additionally, you may want to adapt the scavenger hunt to focus on only one literacy skill, depending on your students' needs and abilities.

6. Print and review the Creating a Greeting Card worksheet. Make a poster listing these questions for students to consider when creating their greeting cards. You may also want to make photocopies to hand out for discussion purposes.

7. Gather the art supplies listed in the Classroom Resources. You may want to make your own greeting card as a model.

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