If you ask young children what it is they read, 10 bucks says they would say, "A book!" They wouldn't be wrong, but they would be missing many other types of print. We read street signs, maps, greeting cards, magazines…the list is long, but one of my favorite things to read with my children is recipes.
Cooking with your children has great benefits, not only in literacy but for real-world math learning as well. However, since this is a blog about raising readers, I will stick to the reading side of things with these five tips.
1. Look for recipes together. If it's a favorite that you don't need a recipe for, write it out together so your kids can read and follow along. Giving them a feeling of control will get them invested in the activity and open to learning.
2. Choose the right time to cook with your kids. 7:30am, when you need to be out the door at 7:45, is not the ideal time to work a little reading into your day, at least not with cooking. Choose a time that is not rushed, when tummies aren't so hungry that behavior is teetering on a meltdown, and if something spills you can clean it up together without having anyone in tears.
3. Have everything on hand -- or at least easy for your sous chefs to get if your hands are full with a hot pan.
4. While the food is in the oven, have your helpers write out a menu for the other "guests," even if they are just imaginary friends or stuffed animals. Purposeful writing activities such as writing out menus and place cards for a special meal are great literacy activities for young children.
5. Write a review! Have your children write or dictate a review of the food and any tips for next time that they may want to add. My son almost always says "More butter." Not only is this a fun way to review the activity, it can lay down the foundation to do this activity again!
What everyday chores do you use as teaching tools with your kids? Tell us about them on the Scholastic Parents Facebook Page.