Hasty pudding. I do not like that stuff. It was a real treat in the Little House books, but I really don’t care for it. Maybe it’s different today, but we did use the same recipe, so that shouldn’t be it. Or maybe our diet today has spoiled our taste buds. I don’t know. What am I talking about? I’m talking about one of the reading activities for comprehension that we did in elementary history class.
Mom read aloud the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. In the first book, Little House in the Big Woods, they were gathering maple sap to make maple sugar and maple syrup. As a special treat, they ate hasty pudding with maple syrup on it, and from the description, they enjoyed it immensely.
As a fun activity we made hasty pudding. You might be asking, “So what is hasty pudding?” It’s a hot cereal made from cornmeal. I don’t remember very well what it was like, but I distinctly remember that I didn’t care for it. I’m not sure why we didn’t care for it, because it was something special for them that they got excited about.
That wasn’t the only activity we did while reading the Little House books. My sister and I helped Mom sew pioneer outfits. We made dresses, pinafores, and bonnets, and afterwards we had lots of fun wearing them and playing in them.
Doing activities that go along with what you read really add a lot to it. How? I’ll tell you.
Activities help you remember.
When you just read a book and don’t do anything with what you read, you aren’t as likely to remember a lot of it, at least not in detail. But when you actually do activities that go along with the book, you remember those and in turn remember the book they went with.
I don’t imagine I would remember the brief mention of hasty pudding in the book if it had not been for us trying it. But because of doing it, I remember it, and I’m grateful it’s not a part of our regular diet. Although maybe now that I’m older, I would like it better.
They are good for hands-on learners.
Hands-on learners can’t always learn well from a book since they learn better when using their hands and doing something. Having activities to do that go along with what they are reading will help them to learn better and remember more.
They will learn more designing a model of something they have read about or illustrating something that happened in the book. The activity guides that I make and sell have lots of fun hands-on activities to reinforce the books that they accompany. Making a mortar and pestle is one of the activities in The Courage of Sarah Noble, and making a hoop-skirt is one of the activities in In Grandma’s Attic.
Activities give first-hand experience.
What were earlier time periods like? How did people live then when everything was so different from how it is today?
When you try to do something the way in which it was done long ago, it gives you an idea of how things were. Have you done any hand-sewing? Imagine sewing, completely by hand, an elaborate dress with ruffles, lace, and frills. My hand-sewing projects I did for my dolls never stayed together very well, so I can’t imagine sewing an entire dress by hand.
Whatever activity you try, if you do it the way they did it, it gives you first-hand experience of how it was for them. It helps you understand more about how things were done then. And it gives you a greater appreciation of how easy we have it today.
They make reading come alive.
Don’t people from history often seem a little less real than people today? We don’t usually think a lot about their daily lives and the ordinary things they did. But they were as real as you and me.
And another benefit of doing reading activities for comprehension is that it helps make history come alive. When we recreate the way they did things, we can think about how it was for them doing those things. They enjoyed eating hasty pudding. The pioneer girls all wore simple dresses, pinafores or aprons, and bonnets, as we made. And they had their own problems and their own times of happiness, as we do.
Reading activities for comprehension have a lot of benefits. They bring to life what you are reading, and they help you remember in a way you would never have remembered otherwise. They are a good way to go deeper with reading and learn as much as you can from your books. In need of some fun reading activities? Check out these ideas.
What are some activities you have done based on something you read? I would love to hear about them! Just leave a comment down below and tell all about them and what you learned from them.