Food, Glorious Food! Serving Up Common Core Connections

Gathering Reading Material

Students who are college-and-career ready need to read widely from multiple sources to meet the demands of the Common Core State Standards.  As you plan your units of study and individual lessons, first consider the texts you already have.  Are you required to use a textbook?  Is there a way to use it differently, through the lens of the Common Core?  Perhaps drawing attention to text structure, for example, can be a support for your students to deepen understanding.

Visit your school (or community) library early in your planning process.  Your librarian can recommend both print and digital literature and informational books that fit your theme, and may also have archived other materials such as magazines. (As an example, the November 2001 issue of Appleseeds (from Cobblestone Publishing) contains brief articles such as “From Seed to Feed,” “Inventions that Changed Food History,” and “Growing our own School Lunch.”  Much of the information is still relevant today.), reviewed here by TeachersFirst, is a great resource for finding Common Core-aligned lesson plans and reading passages—both fictional and informational—complete with text-dependent questions.  (A quick search for the purpose of this article yielded a number of food-related articles for several grade levels with titles such as “Healthy Plates” and “Fat and Fed Up.” ) These passages could  work well in strategy groups, for whole-class shared reading, as close reading practice, or as springboards for writing.  Search by topic, level, skill, or strategy. 

Canada-based Teaching Kids News (reviewed here) includes articles tagged by grade level. Search for food related articles in the Health section or click the nutrition tag.  Articles include teaching ideas, as well. Be sure to notice the tags to determine appropriate grade level(s).

For upper elementary grades, the nutrition articles from Science News for Kids (reviewed here)  include sophisticated informational texts on many unusual food and nutrition related topics. Bonus: these articles are completely free and available on the web, including a list of “Power Words” included in each article. A readability test of these articles shows levels at about grade 5.

IntroductionGathering Reading Material
For Lower Elementary StudentsFor Middle Elementary StudentsFor Upper Elementary Students
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