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English Language Arts Blog

The home of Vocab Gal and other educational experts K–12 resources

November 13, 2023 ELA K-5, ELA Focus - Reading, ELA Seasonal - Fall, ELA Resources - Activities

Thanksgiving Reading Comprehension Worksheets for Grades 1–5 [PDF Printables]

Once Halloween is over, use Thanksgiving to keep the instructional momentum going in your classroom! Here are seven Thanksgiving reading comprehension activities to use with elementary students. Plus, you can download each of all of the Thanksgiving reading comprehension worksheet PDFs free of charge. I'm certain your students will gobble these worksheets right up!


7 Thanksgiving Reading Comprehension Worksheet PDFs

There are a couple ways the reading comprehension worksheet PDFs featured in this article can be downloaded. You can select which worksheets meet your current needs and download them individually, or you can get all 7 printables (plus, additional Halloween worksheets) with the Fall-Themed Reading Activity Kit.

Thanksgiving Reading Comprehension Worksheet PDFs

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When you download the Fall-Themed Reading Activity Kit you get:

  • Pumpkin Patch Phonics Game
  • Halloween Reading Resources
  • Halloween Graphic Organizers
  • Stellaluna Interactive Read Aloud
  • Mr. Turkey 5W’s & 1H Graphic Organizer & Poster
  • Turkey Story Map Activity
  • Gobble Up a Good Book Activity
  • Molly’s Pilgrim Unit; On, Between, & Beyond the Lines
  • Milly and the Macy’s Parade Review Guide

Below, you'll learn about each of the ready-to-go reading activities. From graphic organizers to chapter review guides... our Thanksgiving reading comprehension worksheets got you covered! 

1.) Mr. Turkey Wants to Know the 5 W's and 1H Graphic Organizer

My students always seem to prefer nonfiction reading, especially the boys. During the month of November, I use this to my advantage and work on several nonfiction Thanksgiving reading comprehension activities with my students.

I provide a wide range of texts for my students to choose from. Topics include everything from learning about turkeys to understanding the sport of football. We read about the Pilgrims and what they endured traveling across the Atlantic Ocean, and then creating a home for themselves in the New World. We also read about the Native Americans and how they helped the Pilgrims. Finally, of course, we read about the first Thanksgiving.

In conjunction with all of these texts, I have my students complete the Mr. Turkey 5W's & 1H Graphic Organizer. With any nonfiction text, I expect students to be able to state the who, what, where, when, why and how.

Even though the 5W's and 1H graphic organizer is embellished with a Thanksgiving image (Mr. Turkey), you can certainly use it with any text during the month of November.


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2.) Molly's Pilgrim Mini-Unit; On, Between, and Beyond the Lines

Thanksgiving is one of the easier holidays to work on with my students because it is not a religious holiday, so every student feels comfortable participating. A great book to use with second and third grade students is Molly's Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen. Depending on the reading level of your students, this book can be used as a read aloud, in small groups, or for independent reading.

Currently, I use this book as a read aloud with my third grade students. I do what I like to call a 'mini-unit' with the book (mini because the unit only lasts 5 days). I read aloud a portion of the book to my students and then we discuss the answers to: on, between and beyond questions about the text.

Thanksgiving is one of the easier holidays to work on with my students because it is not a religious holiday!

Available for download is the Molly's Pilgrim Mini-Unit. This mini-unit includes on, between and beyond questions that you can ask with each section of the text. To learn more about this lesson, read the full article!


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3.) Turkey Story Map

After your Thanksgiving reading activities ensure students can recall the most important parts of the text! The Turkey Story Map helps students build reading comprehension and to organize their thoughts.

Use the Turkey Story Map to break down a favorite Thanksgiving read aloud or any text that is read during the month of November.


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4.) Gobble-Up-A-Good-Book Recommendation Sheet

Encourage your students to fill out the Thanksgiving-inspired book recommendation sheet after reading a book that they want to share with their peers. This simple Thanksgiving reading comprehension worksheet requires students write a brief summary of a book and an explanation of why they are recommending the book to their classmates.

The Gobble-Up-A-Good-Book Recommendation Sheet should be kept near your classroom reading library to inspire students to select books that were read by their classmates.

Thanksgiving reading comprehension worksheet pdf

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5.) Pumpkin Patch Phonics Game

Systematic and explicit phonics significantly improves student's ability to comprehend what they read. A lack of phonemic awareness and decoding strategies lead to poor reading comprehension. The next Thanksgiving-themed resource is geared towards improving early elementary student's reading fluency.  It is also the perfect printable to use when early elementary students are no longer excited by a  turkey-themed worksheet.

The Pumpkin Patch Phonics Game is the phonics version of Hasbro® Chutes and Ladders™. Students practice sounding out short u and short e words in order to read their way out of the pumpkin patch!  Your students will be laughing and decoding as they hope to hit rainbows (to move ahead) and avoid strong winds (which take them backwards). 

Pumpkin Patch Phonics Game

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6.) Cooking the Perfect Turkey Thanksgiving Sequence Writing

This next activity isn't technically a Thanksgiving reading activity, but it reinforces a skill necessary for students to fully comprehend a text.

The Recipe for Cooking the Perfect Turkey Sequence Writing Activity will task students with writing recipe instructions using sequence words. For primary grade-level students, the focus of this lesson should be an introduction or a review of sequence words.

Display sequence words: first, second, third, next, then, last, and finally. Explain that they will be using these words to write a recipe for how to cook a turkey. Tell students that a recipe usually includes: ingredients, a list of step-by-step instructions using sequence words, a temperature for cooking, and a time frame for cooking.

I try not to give too much information about cooking a turkey because what the students come up with on their own is usually hilarious, but for students that need support getting started, you can ask questions such as:

  • Where do you get a turkey?

  • How do you prepare it?

  • How long do you cook it?

  • At what temperature do you cook it?

After your students finish writing their instructions, have them publish on the downloadable recipe cards provided. Hang the recipe cards on a bulletin board for all to enjoy!


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7.) Milly and the Macy's Parade Reading Comprehension

In November of last year, I stumbled upon the book Milly and the Macy's Parade by Shana Corey—and my students just adored it.

It was a great book to use before the Thanksgiving holiday and it was the perfect text to review “comprehension reading strategies” with my students.

Reading comprehension strategies help students stay engaged and think about what they are reading. Utilizing reading strategies requires students to stay active while reading a passage, which can lead to comprehending a text on a deeper level.

When you download the Fall-Inspired Reading Activity Kit you'll get the Milly and the Macy's Parade Guide for reviewing comprehension reading strategies. This guide provides book pages and teaching points to engage students in a discussion about the text! 

To read an overview about comprehension reading strategies, read the full article!


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BONUS: Book Talk Placemat Activity

This interactive book discussion for kids was originally created with Thanksgiving in mind, but it can be used during any family mealtime.

With the Book Talk Placemat Activity students will write questions around the border of the placemat and then decorate the center to make it visually appealing. Since the purpose of the placemat is to engage the entire family in a discussion, students will need to write general questions about books, so everyone can participate! For example:

  • What is your favorite book?

  • What series do you enjoy reading?

  • What character do you want to know more about?

  • What is your favorite genre? Least favorite genre?

  • What author would you like to have over to dinner?

Once students have written out their questions, have them decorate the center of the placemat with Thanksgiving-themed artwork.

To learn how the Book Talk Placemat Activity can be used to discuss specific reading assignments, read the full article!


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