Although the bulk of literacy skills are taught within Language Arts, these skills can be strengthened through other curriculum strands, including healthy eating. Cross-curricular opportunities to strengthen literacy not only help students better understand every subject, but make better sense of the world around them. As with numeracy, growing and preparing food is not only fun, but it provides hands-on learning opportunities that easily incorporate literacy into healthy eating education and the development of life skills.
Primary students can read and discuss books about food and where food comes from. Most libraries have online resources and eBooks available with a library card, and some websites have audiobooks for kids. Some children’s books like Stone Soup and How Did That Get In My Lunchbox? are also read out loud on YouTube. Students can journal about some of their favourite meal time traditions or foods. Older primary students can research a food and create a poster about how this food gets to their table. And at meal and snack times, parents can read an age-appropriate recipe with their child and help them follow the recipe to then enjoy together.
Junior students can investigate a vegetable or fruit and create an illustrated pamphlet with information about the food (e.g., the best growing conditions, when it’s in season, how to prepare it). They may enjoy creating a menu for a family meal (or for their own imaginary restaurant) that incorporates produce in season or from the garden. They may also have fun designing a food-related board game for family game night. These students can also get involved in the kitchen by reading recipes, looking up unfamiliar cooking terms and following recipe steps to create meals and snacks.
Intermediate students can create a weekly menu for their family and then write a grocery list based on the ingredients needed. For an added challenge, ask them to include a new recipe that they’ve never used before, or something from their home garden. Have them share their findings via a journal, pamphlet, poster or powerpoint presentation. A bonus for students to cover lessons in health, history, and science and technology – students can also explore various physical, historical, geographical, and environmental factors that influence what types and how food is made available in grocery stores and markets, and in their meals.