Food connects us with our families, neighbors, and the community at large. This round up of scrumptious texts includes informational texts about the history and invention of some of our favorite foods, as well as poems and stories about the memories food can create.
Whether you’re new to CommonLit’s free digital literacy program or a longtime user of CommonLit’s online library, each of these texts provide wonderful opportunities for students to connect with each other and expand their reading comprehension with poems, short stories, memoirs, and informational texts all about dessert. Go ahead, fold them into your ELA curriculum and encourage your elementary students to keep taking bites of the sweet treat of reading!
The Cold Hard Science Behind Ice Cream by Tracy Vonder Brink (3rd grade)
This informational text about dessert details the special process used to make ice cream. Elementary students will finish this text and feel like ice cream experts - able to differentiate between ice cream, soft serve, and frozen custard and be able to prevent freezer burn in their own home as well!
Pique student interest with the Related Media video “What Ice Cream Looks Like in 7 Countries Around the World.” As students watch the video, ask them to consider “How are these other ways [of making ice cream] similar to the method mentioned in ‘The Cold Hard Science Behind Ice Cream’? How are these ways different?”
When to Eat Pan Dulce…/Cuándo se come pan dulce… by René Saldaña Jr. / basado en "When to Eat Pan Dulce..." por René Saldaña (3rd grade)
In this delicious poem, the speaker tells about different kinds of pan dulce, cooked by their grandmother, creating a mouthwatering experience for readers!
After reading this poem, invite elementary students to share their answers to Discussion Question 1, “Pan dulce is special to the speaker of the poem. What are some foods that are really special to you? When do you eat them? Do you have any special memories connected to these foods?” Having students talk about what they’ve read is a great way to build reading comprehension skills.
A Sweet Invention by Tracy Vonder Brink (4th grade)
Students may not think of a chocolate chip cookie as a food invention, but this text tells the story of Ruth Wakefield, the woman credited with creating the first chocolate chip cookie!
After digesting this delicious text, have students read the Paired Text “The Twisted History of the Pretzel” then ask students to compare the two food stories, particularly, “How do the authors describe the history of these foods using different text structures?”
Sweetened Condensed Milk by Vashanti Rahaman (4th grade)
This short story tells of Ishamel’s experience leaving the country to visit his grandmother in Trinidad, the country of his birth. During his visit, he notices all the things “[h]e had forgotten” and bonds with family. When he gets back to the United States, he has newfound appreciation for reminders of his trip and family, especially when he spots sweetened condensed milk at the grocery store.
After reading this text, invite students to share places that hold strong memories for them with Discussion Question 2, “During his visit to Trinidad, Ishmael reconnects with her memories of the island and his family who still lives there. What is a place that holds strong memories for you? What are the foods, people, or activities that you remember about this place?”
We All Scream for Ice Cream by Jennifer Sneed (4th grade)
This informational text traces the historic roots of one of America’s favorite desserts: ice cream, highlighting the treat’s transition from rare commodity to ubiquitous truck treat.
If you want to focus students’ even further, assign this text in its Target Lesson format, providing students multiple opportunities to practice the key skill of finding main ideas.
Want more great texts your students can connect to? Check out our text sets from our free online reading program for elementary students like Cultures Around the World!
Wanting to focus on key writing and reading skills? Check out our new Target Lessons!