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Lesson Plan

Using Greeting Cards to Motivate Students and Enhance Literacy Skills

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)

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


Student Objectives

Session 1: Introduction to Greeting Cards/Building Background

Session 2: Greeting Card Scavenger Hunt

Session 3: Creating Greeting Cards

Session 4: Sharing Greeting Cards/Reading With Fluency


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Analyze greeting cards to establish a purpose for writing a message

  • Describe qualities of greeting cards that they find appealing to recognize different styles of writing

  • Attend closely to print to apply what they know about letter"“sound relationships, sentence construction, language structure, and language conventions

  • Apply what they have learned to write and illustrate a greeting card

  • Adjust their spoken language to deliver a message

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Session 1: Introduction to Greeting Cards/Building Background

Before beginning this session, students should be familiar with the concept of sorting items into categories based on how they are the same.

1. Set the purpose for the lesson by explaining that people send greeting cards for many reasons. Share a greeting card that was sent to you with the class. Describe how you felt when it arrived in the mail, who it was from, and why they sent it to you. Ask students to share their experiences with greeting cards. Have they ever sent or received a greeting card? Why do people send cards? Where do people buy cards?

2. Choose a few greeting cards to share with students. Read aloud the greeting cards, modeling appropriate expression, and discuss why someone would choose to send this type of card to a family member or friend.

3. Ask students to think again about times they have sent or received a card and have them share what the occasion was. Begin writing a list on the Types of Greeting Cards chart you created (see Preparation, Step 4).

4. Explain to students that they are going to spend time exploring different types of greeting cards. Set the purpose for the first investigation by asking students to explore the greeting cards. As students look at the cards, tell them that they need to be thinking about how to sort the cards into categories determined by the group.

5. Have students get into the small groups you have assigned (see Preparation, Step 3) and give them time to sort the cards. You should circulate among the groups at this time to guide and assist them with the sorting task. You may want to present students with predetermined groupings of cards, such as rhyming cards, cards that use cartoon characters, and so on. Or you can keep it as an open sort and see what grouping categories your students create.

6. Gather students back together as a whole group and discuss their findings. Use this time to draw attention to the techniques authors use when creating greeting cards. Explain to students that some authors use jokes in their cards, while others may use rhyme to convey a message. Reiterate that the authors' style depends on the type and occasion of the message they want to send. For example, greeting card authors often use words and illustrations that have a theme. You may encounter a card that says, "Jumpin' at the chance to say-Hope you have a happy day!" The card would be illustrated with jumping frogs. This fun card is appropriate for a young child's birthday. As students discuss their findings, add ideas to the Writing a Greeting Card chart you created (see Preparation, Step 4).

7. Allow students time to share their favorite greeting cards and explain why they especially liked each one. Point out aspects that the authors used to appeal to various audiences. For example, some greeting cards use onomatopoeia, or words that imitate the sound they are describing. A card with a bee on the front might say "buzz" or a card with a cow might say "moo."

8. Hang the two charts you created where students can see them for use in future sessions.

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Session 2: Greeting Card Scavenger Hunt

1. Explain to students that they will participate in a scavenger hunt. This time, rather than focusing on the authors' messages, they will focus on the individual words and print concepts presented in the cards.

2. Divide students into the same small groups created in Session 1 and distribute the greeting card envelopes. If your students can read independently, you may want to revise the sample Greeting Card Scavenger Hunt so that it can be distributed to students to work in the small groups. Otherwise, you will lead the scavenger hunt.

3. Allow students time to preview the cards that they will use for the scavenger hunt. Circulate to help students read cards if necessary.

4. Read aloud the first task from the Greeting Card Scavenger Hunt or your revised scavenger hunt worksheet (see Preparation, Step 5). Set a timer for three to four minutes and allow students some time to search their greeting cards for the focus concept.

5. When the timer goes off, each group should share their findings. Combine all student responses on a class chart. For example, if you are using the Greeting Card Scavenger Hunt worksheet provided, Task #3 directs students to find as many pairs of rhyming words as they can. Invite students to write their rhyming pairs on the chart paper themselves. This strategy will reinforce the concepts and provide students with the opportunity to write through a shared writing approach.

6. Repeat this procedure with the other tasks on the Greeting Card Scavenger Hunt worksheet. Make certain to discuss the letter-sound features that you feel are important to this word study activity. For example, when students write the rhyming pairs of words on the chart paper, follow up with a question such as, "What part of these words rhyme? Underline the rhyming part of the words."

7. Conclude the scavenger hunt by telling students that you are proud of their word study skills. Greeting card authors need to not only focus on the special message they want to send, but also use proper spelling and writing skills.

8. Display the charts in the classroom where students can see them for use in future sessions.

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Session 3: Creating Greeting Cards

1. Explain to students that they will now have the opportunity to use some of the techniques they have learned in the last two sessions to create their own greeting cards.

2. Review the Creating a Greeting Card worksheet with students. Go over each point on the worksheet in detail so that students can establish a purpose for writing. They will write a message and create a greeting card displaying the message.

3. If computers are available in the classroom or school computer lab, help students to preview the Postcard and Greeting Card Museum and Peacock Cards For Kids websites to gather ideas for their own cards.

4. Instruct students to create a draft of the card they would like to make, based on the Creating a Greeting Card worksheet and examples of the cards they have seen.

5. Circulate among students to conference with them about their greeting cards and coach them with their creations as necessary.

6. Help students to proofread and revise their cards. Once the text is ready, students will create their final card using the art supplies you have assembled. You might display your own card as a model, and describe to students how you created it.

7. Display the completed greeting cards in the classroom for students to view.

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Session 4: Sharing Greeting Cards/Reading With Fluency

1. Encourage students to practice reading their cards in a manner that is appropriate to the message they are sending. This will help to build their oral reading fluency.

2. Allow students enough time to share their greeting cards with their peers. This will allow students to see diverse messages and other creative approaches to creating a greeting card.

3. Model for students how to provide positive feedback to their peers about each greeting card shared. You may want to allow each student to discuss his or her greeting card in a presentation.

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  • Create a bulletin board titled Greetings From Class _____! Display students' greeting card creations and other examples of greeting cards.

  • Set up a post office in the classroom. Teach a lesson on addressing an envelope and allow students to continue creating greeting cards at a writing center. Assign your class a fictitious mailing address and create an address for the other classes and key people in the school building. Assign a student the job of "mail carrier." Teach students how to sort the mail by address and deliver the mail to the people in the school. When students want to send something to someone in the school, they can place their addressed cards in the classroom mailbox.

  • Teach students how to send electronic greeting cards on the Internet using Peacock Cards For Kids. Have students explore the differences between sending an e-card versus a paper card.

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  • Informally assess students’ abilities to name the purpose of the greeting cards that were explored through observation of discussions during Sessions 1 and 2.

  • Collect the Greeting Card Scavenger Hunt and informally assess students’ abilities to attend to print and tell what they know about letter–sound relationships, sentence construction, language structure, and language conventions.

  • Informally assess students’ abilities to read their greeting cards with appropriate expression during Session 4.

  • Assess students’ greeting cards using the four-point Greeting Card Evaluation.

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