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‘Eat Your Words': Teaching food for thought

Class teaches kids about reading and healthy eating

Posted: March 5, 2009 1:51 a.m.
Updated: March 5, 2009 4:55 a.m.

From left, Kelly Lopez, Emily Chavez and recreation leader Irma Salazar at the Newhall Community Center during the "Eat Your Words" program designed for elementary school students.

 
Reading and cooking — two essential skills — are taught at the same time in a way that’s fun for Santa Clarita youth.

The Newhall Community Center, located on Market Street, now offers a class called “Eat Your Words” designed especially for kindergarten-through-second-grade students who struggle with reading.

“The ‘Eat Your Words’ program is a truly unique and innovative way to get kids into reading,” Santa Clarita City Councilwoman Laurie Ender said. “The staff sees great improvement in the students each session.”

The class, held every Monday from 4 p.m. to 4:50 p.m., uses food-related books to excite and encourage students to read. Students learn the value of reading as a fundamental aptitude.

Each week, students take turns reading the books out loud. Once the class finishes a story, they head over to the City Center’s kitchen to cook up the story’s related recipe. The class mixes up cooking lessons with food-related arts and crafts.

Instructor Irma Salazar picks a book for the new readers each week about various foods or containing easy recipes to increase reading ability, creativity and cooking exploration.

In one session, students read the book “Mrs. Hippo’s Pizza Parlor” and finished the lesson by cooking their own mini-pizzas. Class sessions always end with the kids savoring their creations, Salazar said.

For more information on “Eat Your Words” and other Community Center programs and classes, visit www.santa-clarita.com.

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