Fourth of July Literacy Activity
A Is for America
Children will make predictions about a story.
Children will listen to a simple short story.
Children will recall details from a simple short story.
Children will learn facts about the United States of America.
- Book: A Is for America by Devin Scillian
- A variety of craft materials
Introductory Literacy Lesson
A is for America by Devin Scillian is a tribute to all we know and love about the United States of America. Its charming poems, expository text, beautifully detailed illustrations worked together to weave a tapestry of American symbols, history, and culture.
Introduce the concept to children that the Fourth of July, or Independence Day, is the day that we celebrate the birthday of our country. When is your birthday? How do you usually celebrate your birthday? Let children respond. What does it mean to have a birthday? Let children respond. That’s right! A birthday is the celebration of the day on which you were born. And guess what? The United States of America has a birthday just like you do. It’s called the Fourth of July, or Independence Day. America used to belong to a country called England, but we got our freedom from England and became our own nation. On this July 4th, our nation will be 233 years old! What are some of the different things that people do to celebrate the birthday of the United States? Let children respond. Yes, some people go to parades, have picnics and barbeques, and watch the fireworks. What are you going to do to celebrate America’s birthday? Let children respond.
Now, we’re going to learn a little bit more about America, the land that we live in. The name of this book is A Is for America. The author, or the person who wrote this book, is Devin Scillian. What do you think this book is going to be about? Let children respond. Look at the picture on the cover. Do any of you know what this is a picture of? Has anyone ever seen it? Let children respond. In this book, you’ll find out about the picture on the cover and many other things about America. Read the book, stopping to discuss what is on each page. Note: You most likely will want to take several days to read this book as it contains a lot of information.
Have a Parade
Have children decorate tricycles, bicycles, wagons, and other pulling toys for a parade. Here are some fun decorating ideas:
- weave red, white, blue crepe paper through wheel spokes
- tie red, white, and blue balloons, streamers, or ribbons to handlebars
- make a wagon float
- tie tin cans and tin pie plates to the back of wagons and tricycles to make lots of noise
Note: Make sure that decorations are attached to vehicles in such a way that they do cause a hazard.
Poem and Songs
Provide children with small flags or let them make their own. Then let them wave their flags and march as they recite the following poem:
Way Up in the Sky
(Tune: Row, Row, Row Your Boat)
Wave, wave, wave the flag,
Hold it very high.
Watch the colors gently wave,
Way up in the sky.
March, march, march around,
Hold the flag up high.
Wave, wave, wave the flag,
Way up in the sky.
Statue of Liberty Crown Craft
Cut a six-to-eight-inch-wide rectangular strip of construction paper long enough to fit around child’s head. Cut a zigzag pattern along the edge of the top to make it look like the spikes of the Statue of Liberty’s crown. Glue or tape the ends of the crown together to fit child’s head. Let children decorate the crown with crayons, markers, stickers, jewels, etc. before wearing it.
American Flag Collage
Have children look through magazines for pictures with lots of red, white, and blue in them. When children have collected enough pictures, have them begin gluing the colors together to make a flag that resembles the American flag. Display the finished flag for everyone to see and enjoy.
Provide each child with a white paper or Styrofoam cup and have them drill a small hole to the bottom of the cup with a nail or toothpick. Have them color or paint the cup silver to resemble the Liberty Bell. Have them draw or paint a crack on their “bell,” just like the original. Then, let them string a small bell or other small noisemaker through the hole in the bottom so that the bell makes a noise when shaken.
The Pledge of Allegiance
This is a great time to teach the Pledge of Allegiance to children. Talk about what the words in the pledge mean. Practice the pledge together. Show children the correct way to salute the flag.
Give children a picture of an American flag cut apart and scrambled up. Then have them put the pieces back together again.
Graham Cracker Flags
Show children a flag or a picture of the flag. Talk about what the flag means. The fifty stars represent the fifty states. The thirteen stripes represent the original thirteen colonies. The color blue stands for justice, or fairness; the color white stands for purity; and the color red stands for courage.
Water Balloon Toss
Fill red, white, and blue balloons with water. Have children form teams of two and give each pair a balloon. Have each pair face each other and gently toss the balloons back and forth. Have children take a step back after each toss. The team that tosses the its balloon the furthest without it breaking is the winner.
Variation: Give each pair two balloons, one to each player, and have them toss their balloons at the same time.
Fourth of July and Patriotic Themed Books
A Is for America by Devin Scillian
America the Beautiful by Wendell Minor
Anno’s USA by Mitsumasa Anno
The Aunt’s Go Marching by Maurie J. Manning
Happy 4th of July, Jenny Sweeney by Leslie Kimmelman
I Pledge Allegiance by Bill Martin, Jr.
Wemberly’s Ice Cream Star by Kevin Henkes
America Is . . . by Louise Borden
Apple Pie 4th of July by Janet Wong
Betsy Ross and the Silver Thimble by Stephanie Greene
Fireworks, Picnics, and Flags by James Cross Giblin
Happy Birthday, America by Mary Pope Osborne
Stars and Stripes: The Story of the American Flag by Sarah L. Thomson
Hats Off for the Fourth of July by Harriet Ziefert
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Jellybeans by Heather French Henry
The Story of America’s Birthday by Patricia A. Pingry
Fourth of July Mice by Bethany Roberts
The 4th of July Story by Alice Dalgliesh
Biscuit’s Fourth of July by Alyssa Satin Capucilli