Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

Halloween Pretend Play

Halloween is only 18 days away! Children love this spooky holiday for its Jack-O’-Lantern carving and candy-filled surprises. However, arguably the most exciting aspect of Halloween is dressing up in costumes. Are your students already buzzing about which costume they’ll be wearing on Halloween? 

Holidays provide ample opportunity to tie seasonal events into literacy lessons. For emergent readers, however, incorporating seasonal books can pose a challenge—“Jack-O’-Lantern,” “werewolf,” and even “Halloween” will stump early readers. Pretending from the My World Series solves this problem by discussing the fun of dressing up in language that all your students can access! 

Although leveled at Guided Reading Level E, Pretending maintains an identical sentence structure throughout most of the book: “We can ____.” The repetitive structure will help your emergent reader gain confidence with each page. In a shared reading setting, encourage your students to help you read “We can” on each page. Real-world photographs also accompany each sentence in the book, allowing students to use pictorial clues to understand the text (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.K.7).

The sentence structure only breaks on the last page where the text asks two questions. With the confidence that your students have built in the first eleven pages, they will be ready and willing to tackle this new sentence structure. 

During the lesson, ask your students the following questions:

Before reading:

  • Has anyone already decided on a costume for Halloween? Start a list on the board of costumes of your students’ costumes.
  • What does "pretending" mean? How do you pretend? How is dressing up on Halloween a type of pretending?

During reading:

  • Add the different pretending ideas presented in the book to your list (cooks, shoppers, dancers, etc.)

After reading:

  • What other dress-up ideas can we add to this list? Many children may have already decided on their costume, but this list may provide inspiration for those who haven’t chosen their costume yet.

 

When discussing Halloween costumes, make sure to stay mindful that not all students’ families can afford to purchase a costume. Simple dress-up ideas such as a farmer, a teacher, or a cat can easily be put together with clothing at home. If you have any economically-friendly costume ideas for students and teachers alike, share them in the comments below!

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Learn more about Pretending at this product page--it's not too late to order now and receive your books before Halloween! Click the image below to download a informational sheet about the My World Series, which includes the book featured in this article.