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Bittersweet Words

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You have just served the densest, creamiest cheesecake of your kitchen career, and what do your children say? "Good, Mom," or more enthusiastically, "Tastes great, Dad." Is their choice of words a little bland for your taste? Help your
  • The RIF Guide to Encouraging Young Readers
  • Alphabet Learning, Cooking, Vocabulary Building, Writing
    • 1-2
    • 3-5
    • 6-8
    • 9-12
  • Minimal
  • Indoor
  • Meal, Play

MATERIALS: Paper, pencils

On a large piece of paper, make a list of words to describe the taste or texture of foods: sweet, sour, bitter, tart, salty, hard, soft, dry, moist, creamy, lumpy, crisp, smooth, round, flat, and so forth. (If one child is playing, limit the list to five or six words.) Give the list and pencils to your children, set a time limit (say, ten minutes), and have the children list as many foods as they can that fit in each category. The same food item may be used in more than one category; for example, potato chips might appear under both salty and crisp. Extend the activity by having the children alphabetize the items in each category. If more than one child is playing, each child can choose a category or two to put in order. Play a similar game with children who cant yet read and write. Say one of the food categories, and both you and your child think aloud of as many appropriate items as possible that would fit in the category. When you have exhausted one category, try another. Don't hesitate to use a new word with your child. Define the word and give one or two examples -- "Crisp means that it is a little hard and it makes a crunching sound when you bite into it, like a cracker or dry cereal." Play this game in the kitchen, where you can open a few cabinets or look on the pantry shelves to keep your brainstorm going.

Bittersweet Words