ELA-based Diwali activities give your middle and high school students the chance to work on English and Reading skills in a fun and engaging way. They can also introduce students to different cultures or literary genres with which they may not already be familiar.
The following free Diwali activities for students—including a word search, a “virtual field trip” to India’s Diwali festival, and a comprehensive ELA activity set about the holiday—are sure to impress even the most reluctant ELA learners. We’ve also included an embedded Piqosity reading comprehension quiz of a delicacy-themed article from The Times of India along with original quiz questions to answer after reading!
Diwali Reading and Writing Activities
1. Diwali Word Search
The first of our featured Diwali activities is this printable Diwali word search, perfect for all grade levels. Students will search for key terms which illuminate aspects of traditional Diwali celebration practices and the origins of this light-filled holiday.
Using this Diwali activity at the start of class is a great way to get the wheels turning inside a student’s head. When they encounter a word that is unknown to them (“rangoli”, for instance), they will likely wonder about its meaning and origins. These lines of inquiry can lead them to answer the question, “What are the traditions of Diwali?”
Word searches in general help to reinforce key concepts in an English Language Arts education, including searching for context clues, increasing vocabulary, and spelling practice.You could even use the word bank from this word search as the basis for a Diwali-themed spelling test—two Diwali activities in one!
Created and made available for free download by Suzanne Welch Teaching Resources.
2. Diwali Virtual Field Trip
This virtual exploration of the story of Diwali and its celebration in India is gratifying for students of all grade levels, but geared primarily towards middle schoolers and younger students. One of our more involved Diwali activities, this exercise enriches both students’ English Language Arts and Social Studies education.
In this activity, students access four outside resources that educate them on Diwali and its traditions: an informative National Geographic video on the holiday, an interactive web article, an immersive 360-degree tour of famous sites in India, and a short documentary on Diwali. Together, these resources help students explore the holiday as if they were visiting India during the Diwali celebration.
Students then use the information they’ve learned in the videos to fill out a set of eleven accompanying worksheets, which gauge students’ understanding of the videos and allow them to creatively express themselves. as they are asked to demonstrate comprehension of the videos/article and write about what they’ve learned.
Like many of our Diwali activities, this is a flexible activity perfect for both in-person and remote learning. Worksheets can be distributed digitally or in print, and students can watch the videos as a class or on their own time. Teachers can pick from the eleven worksheets to find the best fit for their curriculum, and as an added bonus, answer keys and rubrics are provided as well.
Created and made available for free download by TeachWithBri.
3. Diwali Close Reading, Vocabulary, & Writing Exercise
Another of our printable Diwali activities, this exercise focuses on developing students’ close reading skills through an exploration of the history of Diwali.
First, students read a passage (aimed at middle-school readers) that describes Diwali’s traditions and origin. Topics include a discussion of the use of candle holders and other decorations and the purpose and technique of Rangoli design. The passage is followed by eight reading comprehension questions and two critical thinking questions.
Students are also quizzed on key vocabulary words from the passage, encouraging the use of context clues to identify unfamiliar words. An accompanying long-form writing activity asks students to use their language skills in conjunction with their newfound knowledge of Diwali. The activity concludes with a creative task: students have the opportunity to fill in an outline of a rangoli design with bright colors, and are encouraged to draw their own design!
This packet of Diwali activities offers a perfect opportunity to lead a class Diwali celebration without abjuring engaging classwork. To enhance your classroom even more, seven graphic posters focused on key concepts related to the holiday are also provided.
Created and made available for free download by Mikey D Teach – SELebration Learning.
Diwali Reading Comprehension Questions by Piqosity
A beautiful festival full of bright colors, delicious food, and deep tradition, Diwali is a cherished Hindu holiday. But traditions evolve; the following passage is an excerpt from an article in The Times of India focusing on how the traditional sweets market is adapting to modern life.
Piqosity’s incredible team has written three exclusive reading comprehension questions to accompany this passage. Each question engages with a different area of English Language Arts, and the questions are progressively more difficult.