The Benefits of Recipe-Based Language Lessons
I have been using recipe-based language lessons off and on
for about 10 years or so in various classroom settings, as well as in homecare,
and each time similar results occur. Not only do the parents, teachers and
children seem to really enjoy and anticipate the recipe of the week, but I also
see positive changes in the way the children communicate.
For today's post, I wanted to talk about the language-based
recipe lessons and some of the really exciting skills I see emerging and developing
in the children on my current caseload from week to week. Here is a list of some
of the IEP based skills/goals that are imbedded into the lessons, as well as
areas where I see overall improvements happening for many of the children:
and Object Naming - The children have the opportunity to name the ingredients,
cooking tools, common objects (e.g., spoon, fork, etc.). In addition,
recipes often follow the curriculum and can reinforce vocabulary being
taught in the classroom.
- The children are invited to independently raise their hand to volunteer
to stir, pour, etc. In this area, I see normally reserved and quiet
children begin to pop out of their seat, hand in the air, hoping to be the
next one to "pour the milk" or "push the button."
- Sentence Building - The students often use
a sentence strip and/or pacing board to ask for what they want or need.
With food as the motivator, communication often comes more readily.
Turns - The children practice taking turns with classmates, waiting
their turns to stir, scoop, pour, etc.
Skills and Pragmatics - The children eat together and learn the names
of their classmates. They say their classmates' names when they pass the
bowl or food to them. They talk about their experiences (e.g., who has
tried pudding before; who does/does not like bananas).
- The children talk about how the food(s) smell, look, feel, sound, and
taste. This time lends itself to classroom discussions and gives the
communication-challenged child an opportunity to participate and share information
about their opinions, preferences and experiences.
and Recall - The children have the opportunity to both organize and
then recall the steps that were taken to complete the recipe (e.g., What
did we do first?).
yes or no and ‘wh' questions - The children have the opportunity to follow
steps to complete a task. They are also given a chance at the end to share
what they have learned: What did we make today? What four ingredients did
we use? What tools did we use? Etc.
In addition to communication, there are other areas where I
see improvements happening!
Food Fears - The children are expanding their taste buds by trying new
foods and overcoming food fears and aversions.
the Senses - The recipes really get the senses involved! The children
are peeling bananas, tasting cinnamon, mashing up cookies. I have found
that children who often experience much difficulty sitting through a 5
minute lesson or short book can attend for an entire 20-30 minute
recipe-based lesson because they are actively involved in the process. The
activities are hands-on, helping their body and mind to be fully engaged
at Home - Because the parents are given the weekly recipe, broken down
into steps and with pictures attached, they are able to reproduce the
recipes at home, reinforce the vocabulary and nurture new food interests
their child has been exposed to.
If you are doing
recipe-based language lessons in your speech therapy practice, please share
your experiences and let us know how things are going!
Special Note: A few months ago, ADVANCE contacted me about creating an e-book
out of some of my recipes. I am very happy to announce that the much awaited e-book,
Recipes for Early Intervention, is now
complete and can be downloaded here!
The e-book contains 10 recipes
from this blog, and it's packed with vibrant pictures and helpful tips for
therapists and parents to use when engaging in feeding therapy and working with