Five Little . . . repetitive text for emerging readers and beyond

Holiday-themed poems and activities for math, tech skills and emerging readers!

Five snowman in a row.

How do early readers build strong reading skills? Through repetitive text! Repeating phrases and words in a text will often simplify the decoding process for beginning readers, making it easier for them to start reading. Repetitive text helps build patterns, improves speed, increases confidence and strengthens connections in the brain that help students learn. Repetition offers familiarity and predictability. Simple poems with repetitive text often are read rhythmically, boosting brain activity and early literacy building skills.

Emerging readers

Below are simple repetitive holiday-themed poems for emerging readers. These digital stories can be read on a braille display (with the screen reader muted) or can be embossed as paper braille stories. The poems begin with, “Five little . . .”

Depending on your student’s reading skills, you can first read the story as the student follows along. Model reading each word. When on a rhyming word, pause and encourage the student to guess the rhyming word. When on a predictable phrase, pause and encourage the student to say the phrase.

Emerging readers can also listen to the poem using a screen reader; however, keep in mind that a screen reader will not use rhythm when reciting the poem.

Read independently

For a student who is a beginning reader, ask the student to read the poems independently. Pre-teach unknown words, such as “reindeer”, if desired. Choose poems that are similar for even more repetition and predictability!

Ask the student to read the poem multiple times for better fluency, speed and rhythm.

Five Little Reindeer

Five little reindeer playing in the snow.

The first one said, “Can you see my nose glow?”

The second one said, “Listen to me sing.”

The third one said, “I can hear the bells ring.”

The fourth one said, “Let’s eat the pie.”

The fifth one said, “I’m ready to fly!”

Then clomp went their hoofs,

And the snow fell white.

As the five little reindeer flew out of sight. 

Ordinal numbers

These poems are fun poems to practice reading ordinal numbers. Ordinal numbers tells the position of something in a list.

Use the Modified Five Little Reindeer poem. Can your student help Santa’s elves to place the reindeer in the right order? Select, cut and paste the sentences to place them in the correct order. Don’t forget to repeat the activity! Now use the Modified Five Yummy Gingerbread Men poem!


Grammar skills

These predictable poems are also fun for readers who are working on tech skills. Ask the student to navigate to a specific word/phrase in the poem using specific navigation commands for the braille display or bluetooth keyboard commands.

Use the modified Five Little Stockings poem, which has one error per line. Can the student help Santa’s elves to find the errors and correct them? If desired, have the student read the original Five Little Stockings poem before reading the modified poem.

Punctuation can be found when reading the poems on a refreshable braille display.

To have the punctuation read aloud on the iPad, use the rotor, stopping on Punctuation. The default punctuation is Some. When proofreading punctuation, change the settings to All. Now all the punctuation will be read aloud. (Note: “Punctuation” has to be checked in the Settings app in order for “Punctuation” to show up in the rotor.)

Note: The error might be a missing or added period, quotation mark, question mark, exclamation mark or comma.

If you are working on a particular grammar skill, such as capitalizations or quotations, simply edit an existing poem.


Additional resource

By Diane Brauner

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