December Celebrations: Learning linking through holiday poetry

“December Celebrations” is a children’s poem by Helen H. Moore. I used it once in a pronunciation class, and I recently rediscovered my copy of the simple yet warm verses. Not surprisingly, I’ve found a few U.S. schools that have posted the poem on their sites to share with their communities. Here’s one copy.

You’ll find that the language is  accessible to lower level students. I see less than half a dozen words that would require explanation: gather, feasting, customs, traditions, and nations. You could prepare students for the first reading by posing discussion questions with these words. Suggestions:

  1. Around the December holidays, people travel home to meet in one place and celebrate together. For which holidays does your family gather?
  2. Holidays often mean eating special foods. Families and friends prepare big meals with lots of dishes. Think of one of your favorite holidays with special foods. What kinds of dishes does your family feast on?
  3. On Christmas day, many families and friends give gifts to one another. Giving Christmas gifts is a custom.  We could also call it a tradition. What are some customs or traditions your family has for the holidays?
  4. Can you name all the December holidays you know? In which countries or nations are these holidays celebrated?

The poem naturally lends itself to practice with rhythmic patterns. However, I chose to use it to teach the linking of final consonants to initial vowel sounds. Phrases to highlight:

cold and dark

families around

presents and

feasting and

customs and

old and

in all lands

of all ages

If you’d like, there’s also the opportunity to teach

  •  the linking of two vowel sounds with the phrase “so every year”  (note the use of /w/);
  • the linking of the same consonant sounds with the phrases “all lands” (hold the /l/ in “all” and release into “lands”).

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