Decorate a Card

Use a School Readiness Activity to provide early literacy thinking experiences for preschool children that will prepare them to do well in the early grades.
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Teaching Strategies:

Decorate a Card


  • To create lines and drawings of many different shapes
  • To understand that letters are symbols that can be used to communicate
  • To practice fine motor skills

Children's book, a large sheet of paper, index cards, crayons


draw lines
straight     curved
letters numbers

Literature Suggestion
Read Cows Can't Fly by David Milgrim, or any other book with interesting shapes or symbols in the art.

Write an X and an O on the board or chart paper. Tell children that they are the letters x and o, and say words that begin with those letters (x-ray, open, ostrich). Explain that X and O are also symbols for kisses and hugs. Be sure to point out that the words kisses and hugs do not begin with x or o. Invite children to makes Xs and Os on the board.


  • As you read the book, make a game of looking to see shapes and designs in the art. (For example, in Cows Can't Fly, ask children to notice that the designs on all the cows are curvy and very similar.)
  • Also help children notice the shapes of letters in the text. Point out that some have straight lines, some have curves, and some have both. Some look similar, such as the O and the C.
  • Spread a large piece of paper on the floor. If possible, copy the outline of a cow or another image from the book onto the paper. Show children different lines, including squiggly, straight, curly, and zigzag lines, as well as symbols, such as Xs, circles, and hearts. Use a think-aloud approach, talking as you write: These are straight lines, these are wavy lines, and these are squiggly lines. Here's a symbol for dollars, some numbers, and some letters. This is an X.
  • Invite children to decorate the paper with more lines and symbols. Post it in your room.
Provide index cards for children to decorate with straight lines, wavy lines, and symbols. Glue the cards on paper to make a class quilt of designs.

Observation Assessment

  • Proficient - Child is comfortable drawing lines, understands that letters are symbols used for writing, and can copy Xs and Os
  • In Process - Child awkwardly draws a few tentative symbols or lines, and can identify straight lines and curves in letters.
  • Not Yet Ready - Child avoids drawing and writing and cannot yet identify different lines.
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