PREPARING CHILDREN TO READ
CHICKEN SOUP BY HEART by Esther Hershenhorn
Invite the children to talk about cooking soup. Ask questions such as, "Who knows how to cook chicken soup? What ingredients do you add? What kinds of utensils and pots and pans do you use? Where do you cook chicken soup? For how long do you cook chicken soup? When do you cook chicken soup? Create a chicken soup recipe card for the class.
Thinking about CHICKEN SOUP BY HEART after reading
Ask the children to repeat the three stories Rudie stirred in for Mrs. Gittel. Ask the children to find and share the "something sweet" Rudie added to the soup each time he stirred in a story. Share Rudie's recipe for making chicken soup. Is it different from their recipe?
Other ways to explore CHICKEN SOUP BY HEART
Prepare "pretend" chicken soup for the class, using Rudie's and Mrs. Gittel's secret ingredient. What three stories would you, the teacher, stir in for your class? For each student? Try to use the same language Rudie uses: i.e. "It was all about the time when
.." Demonstrate the shape of a story, mentioning how stories have beginnings, middles and ends.
Ask several children to prepare "pretend" chicken soup for you or the Principal or the janitor or a special classmate, for their babysitter or grandmother or father. What three soup-eater stories would they stir in for each person?
Ask each child to bring in his family's recipe for chicken soup. How do the recipes differ? Are they different from Mrs. Gittel's? Can they imagine why this would be?
Everybody eats chicken soup, no matter where they live. Share recipes from around the world: i.e. the United States (gumbos, chowders, posole soup,), Latin America (pepper pot soup, tortilla soup), Europe (cottage soup, cock-a-leekie, consommé, escarole), Eastern Europe and Russia (sauerkraut soup, lemon soup), Middle East and North Africa (yogurt soup, lentil soup), Sub-Saharan Africa (okra soup) and Asia (egg drop soup, wonton soup).
Ask the children to list food items people add to cooked soup. (i.e. noodles, rice, wontons, dumplings, matzoh balls, soup nuts, egg drops, alphabet letters, etc.)
Read Mrs. Gittel's recipe. Circle the ingredients. Write a chicken soup shopping list, drawing a colored picture of each ingredient. Go on a pretend shopping trip to the supermarket. In what departments would you find each ingredient? How much money might each ingredient cost?
Note: Toni Buzzeo adapted the text as a Readers Theatre script in her COLLECTION OF READERS THEATRE SCRIPTS to be published by Highsmith in Fall 2006.