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Learning to cook and learning to read - using recipes for literacy outcomes16-12-2010
The kitchen class is a busy place. For some students, it's an environment they thrive in, even if they don't usually shine in the classroom.
Judy Hunter-Dickson knows just how to motivate students to learn to read: she gives them recipes. Judy is an Inclusive Technologies Consultant Teacher in the ACT. Recently, she has been working with Fran Stevens, the Kitchen Specialist at Majura Primary School - the ACT Demonstration School for the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program - to create multi-levelled, multi-formatted recipes.
Their recipes use images, audio and video options to meet the needs of all readers. Classes at Majura PS participating in the Kitchen Garden Program learn to prepare delicious, seasonal food using fresh produce they have grown themselves in the school garden.
Often, students who may not shine in the classroom find they are the kitchen class stars. While this is great for their confidence, the pressure to read the recipe with a group can turn a positive experience into an experience of embarrassment.
Now students have the opportunity to practice reading the recipes in advance of the kitchen class. They use resources that suit their learning style, including audio, images and video as needed. The recipes provide a purpose for students' reading and increase their engagement in both reading and cooking.
Recipes can be created in software designed specifically for literacy and numeracy development, such as Clicker 5, a multimedia program - or by using simple PowerPoint slides and a free text reader such as Power Talk, which reads aloud the words on PowerPoint slides. Laminated flipbooks of some of the more popular recipes, such as pumpkin or spinach gnocchi, can support students while cooking at home or at school, or be used for reading time activities.
Reading recipes provides a link to literacy and life-long skills through that age-old motivator: lunch.
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