Christmas Lights Up in Here: Candy Cane Lane Literacy Lesson

Jack working on his own Candy Cane Lane

More Christmas fun up in here (up in here, up in here) this week! Know that song? I’ll roll with you. Hint: it’s not a Christmas song. Another hint: hip-hop/rap/r&b is my jam. You know what? While I’m on the topic of music, I have to make a confession. Here it is. Adam’s going to kill me for confessing this but I’ll take full blame for this one.

I spent my breakfast listening to my four year old son sing, “Wet a** p****”.

Here’s the thing. I love that song. I listened to it allll the time when it first came out. And I use Spotify, which doesn’t edit its music. I also am a stay-at-home mom during a pandemic and Mommy likes to listen to grown up music. So there it is, my confession. Feels good to get that off my chest. Phew.

So-back to Christmas fun and wholesome family activities! We spent Wednesday night driving the boys through Tilles Park’s Winter Wonderland, Saint Louis County’s drive through light display. It was adorable and we had a wonderful time doing something as a family out of the house that didn’t feel affected by Covid. Highly recommend! The light display left me feeling inspired and so was born a Candy Cane Lane literacy lesson.

Candy Cane Lane Literacy Lesson: Pre-reading and reading comprehension

  1. Read aloud, The Night the Lights Went Out on Christmas by Ellis Paul.
  2. Discuss the book. It’s a nice story about a neighborhood that goes overboard decorating for Christmas to the point of losing power and then the neighbors stop to think about the true meaning of Christmas. Always a nice reminder for both kids and adults. I made sure to include some discussion about the lights and decorations and what they looked like to transition smoothly into the next part of the lesson.
  3. Sit down and talk about visualization. When you read, you picture what is happening in your brain. Visualization is key to reading comprehension! Plus it is oh so enjoyable to get absolutely lost in a book. I talked to Jack about how when I read, I create pictures in my brain so that it’s like I’m seeing the story happen like a movie in my mind. This isn’t an easy concept to explain so feel free to relate it to a favorite tv show/movie etc. (close your eyes and picture Chase. What does he look like?) *Paw Patrol! Paw Patrol! Whenever you’re in trouble…* Sorry. WAP is way more fun, let’s get that back in our heads instead. *bring a bucket and a mop…*
  4. Practice visualization. I told Jack that we were going to practice seeing a story in our brains together. I had him close his eyes and told him to do his best to make a movie in his brain with the story I’m reading. I read aloud the following description from Candy Cane Lane in Saint Louis. I left out some parts to make it more condensed but I made sure to use all descriptive language about the lights and decorations.
  5. Draw your own Candy Cane Lane! We talked about the decorations and Christmas lights described in the book as well as the description of Candy Cane Lane. Prior to the lesson, I had (rather hastily and not so artistically) drawn a street with three houses on it for Jack to decorate with markers. I showed him how to use the marker to make dots that represented Christmas lights. Probably a good idea to demonstrate making a dot with a maker with your kiddo too or you’ll end up with destroyed markers, as his first inkling was to obliterate the marker by jabbing it down forcefully to make a huge ink blot. Jack also needed a little prompting from me to get him to think about where the lights would be located in the picture-like along the rooftops and windows, but once I did one example light he was into the idea.
  6. Let your kiddo decorate as long or as short as they’d like. I told Jack he could draw trees with lights but he wasn’t into it that day-kids love to keep us on our toes!
Jack’s decorated Candy Cane Lane

“There’s an acorn in the toilet!” I hear Adam yell at me from across the house. Yeah, already I know about that. That’s a story for another day. Probably should deal with that now though. With a bucket. Too much? Yeah probably. Alright, alright. Til next time. Enjoy!

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I’m a stay at home mom of two little boys, Jackson and Sawyer. I have a degree in Early Childhood Education and a masters degree in the education field as well. I have experience teaching a variety of ages from birth through grade 12! I’m passionate about child development, gentle parenting, and learning through play. I’ve spent the last few months developing a preschool curriculum for my 4 year old son and would love for you to follow along for inspiration in your own home!

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