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  • Texas 211

Let's Read: Eating the Alphabet - Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z

by Lois Ehlert

Read this Lesson in Spanish


  • Children will learn about the variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • Children will try at least one new fruit or vegetable.
  • Parents will be able to observe methods of reading to children.

Note: While the book, Eating the Alphabet, is for children one to five, the activities in the lesson will work best with two to five year olds.


Book: Eating the Alphabet: Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert. Voyager Books, Harcourt, Brace and Company. San Diego 1989. Big Book, $14.95. Smaller version, $4.95.

apple Let's Read at Home!
apple "Fruits and Vegetables" sheets for parents.


Tasting: Whole fruits and vegetables as described in the book, sharp knife, paper plates, soap, water or a prepackaged hand wipe for clean hands.

Looking: A variety of apples such as golden, red and green. Foods made from apples such as applesauce, apple pie, applebutter, etc. Bowls, plates. knives and spoons. (Other fruits or vegetable can also be used for this activity.)

Coloring: "Fruits and Vegetables" coloring sheets (attached), crayons or magic markers.

Making a placemat: 8-1/2" by 14" pieces of paper, colors or magic markers, clear plastic stretch wrap or contact paper.


Contact your local library. Find out if Eating the Alphabet: Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert is available. If it is not, get a list of books on nutrition for children from one to five years of age. You may want to put a copy of the book in your WIC lending library for clients to use.

Let the children participate while reading the book. Have whole fruits and vegetables in the book on hand for them to see, touch and smell as you read about them.


1. Introduce the lesson to the parents. Tell them that you will be reading to their children today. Afterward you will be doing an activity based on the book. Let parents know that they can also read to their children at home. Tell parents if Eating the Alphabet: Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z is available in the WIC library or their local library. Encourage them to read either this book or another with their child.

Let parents know that at the end of the lesson they will get an activity sheet which they can take home. They will be able to do the activities with their child. The activities expand on concepts in the book and will make the book a part of their child's life. This will help their child later in school when they begin to read. It will also teach them more about healthy eating.

2. Show the children the cover of the book. Let them know that Lois Ehlert both wrote and illustrated the book. Ask them questions like:

  • What does eating the alphabet mean?
  • What are the pictures on the front and back covers?
  • What is the alphabet?

3. Show the children the letter of the alphabet on the page. Use the teaching tip above, or with the help of the children in the class, name the fruits and vegetables in the book.

Other questions to ask are:

  • Who do you know that eats (name the fruit or vegetable)?
  • Where do you get the (name the fruit or vegetable) you eat at your house?
  • When do you eat (name the fruit or vegetable)?
  • What does (name the fruit or vegetable) taste like?
  • Is this (name the fruit or vegetable) big or little?
  • Does your mother cook (name the fruit or vegetable)?
  • What is your favorite fruit?

4. Activities to do in class:

Pick one of these to do with the children in addition to reading the book.

TASTING: Show the children the fruits and vegetables which you bought for the lesson. You can have extra ones to pass around for them to feel and explore. Cut up the fruits and vegetables which you have and let the children taste them. Make sure that the children wash their hands before they eat or use a prepackaged hand wipe.

LOOKING: Show the children several varieties of apples such as red, golden delicious and green Granny Smiths. Let the children hold each types of apple to see what it is like. Ask the children what other foods are made from apples. Examples you could show are applesauce, apple pie, applebutter, baked apples, among other foods.

COLORING: Let the children color the "Fruits and Vegetables" sheet and take it home. They can put the sheet up on the refrigerator or on the table where they eat. It will serve as reminder of at least one fruit or vegetable they can eat each day.

MAKING PLACEMATS: Use legal size paper (8-1/2' by 14") to make a placemat the children can take home. Let the children color one of the fruits or vegetables which they would like to eat on the placemat. Cover the drawing with clear plastic stretch wrap or contact paper to make a placemat for the child to use at home.

5. Activities to do at home:

Give the parents the Let's Read at Home! sheet which is attached. Here is a further explanation of the sheet so that you can discuss it with parents:

"1. Borrow Eating the Alphabet: Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert from your local library. Read it again with your children."

Children enjoy reading the same book many times and will continue to learn from it. Any age child can benefit from reading the book. Young children will learn when to turn the page and older children can talk with their parents as they read the book.

Besides the local library, your Local Agency WIC lending library can have the book for clients to borrow. If the book is not available, give parents a listing of other books on nutrition to read at home with their children which are available in the WIC library or the local library.

"2. During the next trip to the grocery store, let your child pick out two fruits or vegetables for the family to eat."

Children are more likely eat foods which they help select or prepare. Letting children pick out fruits and vegetables will help them try new ones. It also starts children's own healthy food choices.

When the parents offer a new food, offering a "tiny taste" at first can work best. It may take many offerings of new foods before children will develop a taste for something new, even if they help select it at the grocery store.

"3. Let your three or four year old practice making circles and straight lines on a sheet of paper. This will help get them ready for writing the alphabet in school."

Circles and lines are the basic elements a child needs to make the letters of the alphabet. Practice before going to school will make writing the alphabet an easier task.

"4. Let your child draw on the "Fruits and Vegetables" sheet which WIC gave you. Put the sheets up at home as a reminder to eat well everyday."

The sheet provided will encourage children to eat fruits and vegetables. It is also a reminder to the family to eat more fruits and vegetables.

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Last updated January 5, 2011