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Happy Valentine’s Day! – Reading Text and Activities for Younger Learners

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Heart-shaped box of chocolatesThe following text and activities are taken and adapted from Seasons and Celebrations, Stage 2 Factfiles from the Oxford Bookworms Library, suitable for younger learners.

Activities Before Reading

1. This text below is about St. Valentine’s Day. Which of these things do you think you are going to read about? Circle four words.

Love Money
Flowers Buildings
Horses Cards
Festivals Storms
Answers: Love, Flowers, Cards, Festivals

2. How much do you know about St. Valentine’s Day. Are these sentences true (T) or false (F)?

a) St. Valentine’s Day started in the nineteenth century.

b) On Valentine’s Day people send cards to the people they love.

c) St. Valentine’s Day is 15 February.

d) Chocolates are a kind of food.

e) People often go out to dinner in restaurants in the evening.

f) St. Valentine’s Day is named after a famous Roman emperor.

Answers: a) F, b) T, c) F, d) T, e) T, f) F

Activities While Reading

Read the text below. While reading, answer the following questions.

1. Match the beginnings and endings of the sentences

1. Valentine’s Day started more than…

2. Saint Valentine was a Christian who…

3. Valentine was sent to prison because…

4. When Valentine was in prison, he…

5. People started sending Valentine’s cards…

a) he helped a soldier to marry.

b) in the early nineteenth century.

c) two thousand years ago.

d) lived in Rome.

e) fell in love.

Answers: 1. c), 2. d), 3. a), 4. e), 5. b)

2. Choose the best question word for these questions, and then answer them.

What / When / Who / How / Why

1. _____ was Saint Valentine?

2. _____ is St. Valentine’s Day?

3. _____ do people send to the people they love?

4. _____ long have people celebrated Valentine’s Day?

5. _____ do people write ‘Be my Valentine’ at the end of the cards?

6. _____ was the Emperor of Rome when Valentine was alive?

Answers: 1. Who, 2. When, 3. What, 4. How, 5. Why, 6. Who

14 February is St. Valentine’s Day. This started more than two thousand years ago, as a winter festival, on 15 February. On that day, people asked their gods to give them good fruit and vegetables, and strong animals.

When the Christians came to Britain, they came with a story about a man called Saint Valentine. The story is that Valentine was a Christian who lived in Rome in the third century. The Roman Emperor at the time, Claudius the Second, was not a Christian. Claudius thought that married soldiers did not make good soldiers, so he told his soldiers that they must not marry.

Valentine worked for the church, and one day he helped a soldier who wanted to marry. The emperor said that Valentine had to die because of this, and he sent Valentine to prison. But Valentine fell in love with the daughter of a man who worked there. Just before he died, he sent a note to this woman, and at the end of the note, he wrote: ‘Your Valentine.’ He died on 14 february, so the date of the festival changed from 15 to 14 February and the name changed to Saint Valentine’s Day.

In the early nineteenth century people started to give Valentine’s cards to the person they loved on 14 February. The cards had pictures of bird and flowers on them – perhaps red roses, the flower of love – and inside were words like these:

Roses are red, my love,
Violets are blue.
Sugar is sweet, my love,
But not as sweet as you.

People still send each other Valentine’s cards, but often they do not write their names inside: they just write ‘Be my Valentine’ or ‘From your Valentine’.

Some children give their friends or teachers cards or chocolates. A man will perhaps give red roses to the woman that he loves. A lot of people go out to restaurants for the evening and have dinner for two, and some people think it is a good day to marry.”

Activities After Reading

1. Find these words in the word search below, and draw lines through them. The words go from left to right and top to bottom.

cards, chocolates, Christian, church, Emperor, flowers, love, marry, prison, red, restaurant, Roman, roses, Saint, Valentine

N L S E I T O A S D C
E O A C H U R C H S S
N V I O N A D H R S A
N E M P E R O R E D I
M A R R Y P R I S O N
D F L O W E R S E O T
C H O C O L A T E S R
R V A L E N T I N E O
R A S R M W C A R D S
F R I R O M A N E H E
R E S T A U R A N T S

Put the words into groups under these three headings.

Gifts History Other
__________ __________ __________
__________ __________ __________
__________ __________ __________
__________ __________ __________
__________ __________ __________
Answers:
Gifts – cards, chocolates, flowers, red, roses
History – Christian, Emperor, Roman, Saint, Valentine
Other – church, love, marry, prison, restaurant
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Author: Oxford University Press ELT

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2 thoughts on “Happy Valentine’s Day! – Reading Text and Activities for Younger Learners

  1. Thanks a lot 4 letting us know about the historical background of valentine’s day

  2. Excellent and interesting text, thanks for sharing it. Surely I´ll work it with my students.

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