Cartoon image of a ghost, turkey and Santa Clause.

Gus the Ghost and Thanksgiving Poem: Reading comprehension activities

Improve reading comprehension with this twisted holiday poem!

What happens when Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are all mixed together? Find out in this whacky poem! These activities can be done on any device; the specific commands listed here are for an iPad running VoiceOver.

Gus the Ghost and Thanksgiving poem is anything but predictable!

Activity 1

Note: To turn the page in Apple Books, navigate to the bottom of the page. Right swipes will take you through the content on the page then to the Page Chooser or simply touch the very bottom of the screen. Once the VoiceOver focus is on the Page Chooser, swipe up to move to the next page or swipe down to move to the previous page.

Gus the Ghost and Thanksgiving Poem version 1

Activity 2

Stories are formatted into paragraphs and poems are formatted into stanzas. This is a way to group the sentences by topic or common interest. It also helps students to organize the content in their minds. Stopping briefly between paragraphs enables the student to process the content within that paragraph, before going on to the next paragraph. Students should learn to organize information by paragraph and have a general idea of how many paragraphs are in the short story or document. This subtle organization method will help the student be able to quickly navigate back to a desired paragraph. When using a screen reader, if the student reads the poem straight thru – in one chunk – he/she loses the ability to process and organize the content by paragraphs. This is a critical skill that is often overlooked; this skill transfers to reading large quantities of information including reading textbooks!

Gus the Ghost and Thanksgiving Poem version 2

Mainstream reading comprehension strategies

With young students, we often focus on answering the ‘WH” questions: Who, What, When, Why, and How. (See Audio Memos App and WH Questions post.) We then throw in prediction, and drawing simple conclusions. The next step is to help the student build stronger reading comprehension using a variety of strategies.

General education classes frequently use these seven reading comprehension strategies:

  1. Discussing or activating prior knowledge
  2. Building Vocabulary
  3. Developing questions while reading
  4. Connecting what they are reading to another text, something they have seen, or something they have experienced
  5. Visualize or picturing what they are reading
  6. Make predictions about what will come next in the text
  7. Looking back for keywords and rereading in order to clarify or answer

Who said this and what does it mean? Activity

Gus the Ghost and Thanksgiving poem does not have challenging vocabulary; however, it does expect the student to draw on his or her knowledge of holidays and knowledge of a classic Christmas poem. Read the phrase. Ask your student, “Who said this?” and “What does it mean?” As needed, encourage your student to quickly navigate to that section of the poem to re-read the phrase in context.


“Twas the Night Before Christmas Teaching Comprehension post

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Attached File(s)
By Diane Brauner

Silhouette of Santa's sleigh in the night sky.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas: Teaching Comprehension

Cartoon turkey

Screen Reader Tech Activities: Thanksgiving Lesson Plan


Spider activities