Love reading!

Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff. Illustration by Valentina Russello. © Helbling Languages

Valentine’s Day is here again, and even if you do not celebrate it in your country, it is always a great excuse to talk about love and romance. We have collected three activities for your students to motivate them to write and read about love.

We also have a Literary Love Quiz, a Wordle-based vocabulary booster activity, book recommendations and a love-themed 101 Young Adult Novel discussion sheet plus book list on this Blog:

Love is …

Here are some lines from classic novels. Ask your students to complete the sentences with a word of their choice. Then compare their answers* with the original sentences.

1 ‘Nay, but there is nothing better than Wisdom,’ said the Soul. ‘_________ is better,’ answered the young Fisherman, and he plunged into the deep, and the Soul went weeping away over the marshes.’

(The Fisherman and His Soul by Oscar Wilde)

2 ‘It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I _________ him; and that, not because he’s handsome, Nelly, but because he’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same…’

(Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë)

3 ‘If I _________ you less, I might be able to talk about it more.’

(Emma by Jane Austen)

4 ‘_________ is a great beautifier.’

(Little Women by Louisa May Alcott)

5 ‘All that I ask of you in return is that you will be a true lover, for _________ is wiser than Philosophy, though she is wise, and mightier than Power, though he is mighty.’

(The Nightingale and the Rose by Oscar Wilde)

6 ‘_________ her, _________ her, _________ her! If she favours you, _________ her. If she wounds you, _________ her. If she tears your heart to pieces – and as it gets older and stronger, it will tear deeper – _________ her, _________ her, _________ her!’

(Great Expectations by Charles Dickens)

(* The answers: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6: love 3: loved)

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Love poems

Nothing says LOVE more effectively than a poem written for your beloved. Use the two classic poetry writing techniques to get your students to write about love.

1 List poems

This activity is taken from the resource book Thinking in the EFL Class by Tessa Woodward.

Sample page from Thinking in the EFL Class. © Helbling Languages

Sample page from Thinking in the EFL Class. © Helbling Languages

2 An acrostic poem

What’s an acrostic poem?

It is similar to a word puzzle in which you use letters of a word in each line of the poem. A famous acrostic poem is ‘A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky’ by Lewis Carroll which appears in the last chapter of Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871), the sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865). As you can see, if you read the first letters of each line vertically, you can read Alice’s full name: Alice Pleasance Liddell. She was the inspiration for the character of Alice in the novels.

A boat beneath a sunny sky,
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July–

Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear–

Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die.
Autumn frosts have slain July.

Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.

Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.

In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:

Ever drifting down the stream–
Lingering in the golden gleam–
Life, what is it but a dream?

How to write an acrostic poem?

Choose a name and a topic. Brainstorm words which you associate with the topic word, for example LOVE can be: warm, safe, family, smile, happiness, adventure. Use these words to write the lines of your poem. Start each line with a letter of either the name or the topic.

Degrees of love

This activity is from the resource book The Principled Communicative Approach by Jane Arnold, Zoltán Dörnyei and Chaz Pugliese. Use it to inspire your students to collect phrases which describe different degrees of love.

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Do you have any love-inspired activities you can share with other teachers? We’d love to read it!

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