What’s cooking got to do with literacy?

What’s cooking got to do with literacy?

Cooking is a great opportunity for intergenerational learning. That’s why we decided to make Everyone in the Kitchen the theme of NWT Literacy Week this year. There is always more to learn from cooking, even if we’ve been working in the kitchen for many years.

Cooking helps us to eat healthy, delicious food, as well as to develop essential skills. You can cook together with your family at home, with your friends, with your students, or at a big community event. The things we learn in the kitchen help us at school, at work and in our community.

There are many ways to increase our numeracy skills in the kitchen. We count as we add ingredients or measure ingredients, and we multiply if we need to double or triple a recipe to serve more people. We also learn about budgeting and unit pricing when we shop for ingredients, and about credit and interest when we talk about purchasing a new kitchen appliance.

Cooking can help us sharpen our problem solving skills. What do you do if your bread dough is too sticky? What if your recipe calls for an ingredient that isn’t available in your community, let alone your kitchen? We are constantly thinking in the kitchen, and asking for ideas from friends and families about what to cook, and how to cook.

Working with others in the kitchen can be lots of fun, but it also takes skill. We want to make sure that everyone is involved, everyone knows what each other is doing, and everyone is working safely. Often the sounds of cooking together are laughter and storytelling.

We can do a lot of reading in the kitchen. We read recipes on paper or on electronic devices to learn how to cook a dish. We can read stories about food and cooking. We can read tips online on how to improve our cooking. We also read the labels on packaging our food comes in. Packaged foods list their ingredients and nutrition facts. Reading these and knowing what the information means is an important skill that helps us make informed food choices.

We all love to share cooking stories—stories about things we love to eat, and sometimes stories about dishes that didn’t quite work out. When we cook together, oral communication is a huge part of the process. We talk about how we got an ingredient, or discuss the recipes that we want to make.

We wish everyone a happy NWT Literacy Week. If you need cooking ideas check out these resources on our website.

Please share your NWT Literacy Week event photos on social media. Use the hashtag #everyoneinthekitchenNWT so people can see how you are celebrating NWT Literacy Week. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see what others are up to.

— Katie Johnson, Family Literacy Coordinator

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