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oven, bread or muffin ingredients, muffin tins, aprons, sink
Good muffin or quick bread recipe (try Knead It, Punch It, Bake It! The Ultimate Breadmaking Book for Parents and Kids by Judith and Evan Jones for ideas!)
1. After washing hands, children will participate in making the batter or dough by working cooperatively to measure and mix ingredients, and putting their mixture into tins to bake.
2. After cleaning up, children will gather around an adult facilitator who will read aloud to them as a pleasant way to pass the time until the baking is completed ("story time"). The facilitator shall read picture books (a chapter book may also be used in serial form for older children). The facilitator shall be explicit as to what is going to be read that day in order to help the children know when it will be appropriate to stop and check or eat the bread.
3. Once the read aloud is finished, the bread is also finished and ready to eat, closing the experience in a gratifying and nurturing way.
This is a program I ran out of my apartment while I was on maternity leave with my son. I invited former students and neighborhood children over for books and baking; they ranged in age from about six to thirteen years old. My favorite afternoon was when we made corn bread and read from Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. You can read whatever you like; if you have older kids, it can be fun to serialize a longer novel. But if you want to start with a baking theme, try any of these!
Many teachers need the time before school to meet with parents or prepare for the day, so Books for Breakfast an ideal parent-run program. Children who come to school early to participate in the school breakfast program are often low-income or have parents who work full-time, both groups usually in need of some extra support at school. These kids will rise and shine academically, thanks to this read-aloud boost. Set aside a table or two in the cafeteria (you may have to negotiate a quieter place, depending on the acoustics) where you can read-aloud to the children as they eat breakfast. Author Avi wrote daily "cliffhangers" for the local newspaper called "Breakfast Serials." You, too, can serialize almost any good chapter book and make an exciting listening experience . Kick off the program by having children create cereal brands for their favorite book characters and decorating boxes accordingly (examples: gingerbread children cookie cereal for the witch in Hansel and Gretel, dog biscuit cereal for Old Yeller, banana cereal for Curious George) and display them along with the day(s) that the group will meet. This kind of program usually grows tremendously by word of mouth...of course, it being breakfast.
On a smaller scale, you can also do this at home over breakfast, or make read-aloud part of the morning carpool or bus routine.
Short Stack: A Few Great Pancake Picture Books:
Granny's Pangcakes by Ahvander
Pancakes, Pancakes by Eric Carle
Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie DePaola
The Great Pancake Escape by Paul Many
Piggy's Pancake Parlor by David McPhail
Jouney Cake, Ho! by Ruth Sawyer
Tired of pancakes? Try the chapter book Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath.
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