Literacy Extension Activity: How To Eat Fried Worms (kindergarten-grade 3)


Mrs. Claus brought books to each of my boys on Christmas Eve Eve.  My middle and youngest received Christmas stories that they happily listened to over and over.  My oldest is a bit of a reluctant reader and it’s a challenge to engage him in stories.

Mrs. Claus surprised him a favourite story of his mom’s when she was in grade school.  How To Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell was left on his breakfast plate, alongside his new pyjamas, with this inscription:

DSC_0775This was your mommy’s favourite book when she was in the third grade.  I’m sure you will love it too!  Ask your mommy to read it to you.  

The three of us (middle son included) would cuddle up each night and read a few chapters.  The story was an instant hit with the boys, and really what’s not to love?  Gross squiggly wigglies, dirt bikes, bathroom humor and a gang of best friends.

After we finished the book, we did some extension activities.

Feel sorry for my boys – you can take the teacher out of the classroom . . .

DSC_0778Choose a month of the year and complete the blank calendar.

  • Before we did this we reviewed the months of the year and the days of the week.  Here is a catchy tune to help your child learn the months and the days.


Print the number of the days in the calendar squares.

  • We discussed how some months have 30 days and others 31 days and that February only has 28 days.  It’s tricky to learn how many days each month has but this poem/action has proven to be quite helpful.


Are there an odd or even number of days in the month of that you chose?  How do you know?

  • What does “even” mean?  My middle son is Mr. Fairness and he was quick to explain that “even” means “fair”.  That if there is an even number, nothing is left over (and no one gets an extra).  The oldest said that you can always split the extra but then you’d be using fractions.  The boys worked together to identify that even numbers end is 0,2,4,6,8 and odd numbers end in 1,3,5,7,9.  Mr. Fairness also pointed out that this is pattern.

If Billy has to eat one worm every day for 15 days how many worms does he have to eat in total?  Is 15 an odd or even number?

  • The boys laid out their gummy worms on the calendar – one for each day.  This provided them with a visual of just how many 15 worms Billy had to eat.  I also asked the boys when they hear “in total” or “all together” what mathematical operation should they use?

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If Billy has to double the number of days, but still eat one worm per day, how many days does he have to eat worms?  How many worms will have to eat in total?  Is that an odd or an even number?

  • It amazed me how they worked together to solve this problem.  The oldest wanted to show off his double-digit adding skills and taught his brother how to re-group.  They showed the several ways to solve this problem with words, pictures and using the gummy worms!


The boys also drew a picture of their favourite character from the novel.  Mr. Fairness chose the worm and his big brother was quick to follow suit!


We couldn’t leave those gummy worms on the calendar, so we made some worms in mud!*


And the next time we want to rent a movie, How To Eat Fried Worms it will be!

*Sorry, no photos from our kitchen creation.  This one is via pinterest.


Rainy Day Activity: Teaching Rhyming Words & Looking For Patterns In Storybooks


Literacy, books, learning – there a big deal around here.  I love reading in the way that my husband loves to cook.  I love reading in the way that my boys love to whine.  I love reading so much that a perfect day for me would be spent lost in the stacks of the library.  I love that musty library smell.

Our last library haul brought home a bounty of books.  Each boy was weighted down by their selections and I didn’t come up short either.

I like to see what books the boys choose when left to their own devices.  It tells me a lot about what their current interest and what’s grabbing their attention.

And because I am a book geek, I like to use one book per haul and make a lesson of it.

Oh, groan!  Can’t take the teacher out of the mother . . . my poor kids.

My middle boy loves dogs so it’s no surprise that when he spotted Bark Park by Karen Gray Ruelle it had to come home in our library tote.  We read the book a few times together, and then he spent some time with it alone.


A few days later, I typed out the words to Bark Park in large, kid-friendly font (Comic Sans, size 26) and printed it out.


We sat down together and read through the script without the pictures.  This can be difficult for children who are learning to read as often early readers rely on pictures for cues.

Using the printed story, I asked my son to find the rhyming words.


Since, for the most part, there are three pair of rhyming words per stanza, I asked my son to choose three different coloured hi-liters and because he is my son, he’s game to do any activity that requires office supplies.  Staplers are a favourite!


I like to use a blank, white paper to keep the stanzas covered that we have not yet worked on.  This focuses his eye (and attention) on the task at hand.

Together we read through the story and he colour-coded the rhyming pairs.  I.e.  Bark and park would be coloured purple.


It seems like a lot of work for at-home literacy activity and it is, but by spending this time, a foundation has been laid and a curiosity sparked.  Books that we have read after Bark Park spurred discussions about books that don’t rhyme and what are the reasons why they may not?  Non-fiction books, cookbooks, and instructional books don’t use rhyme, why?  Why do some fiction books use it and others don’t?  Can you imagine an entire chapter book told in rhyme?  Why is it not always possible to tell a story that way?

He also made connections between his favourite authors and their use (or lack of use) of rhyming.

After he had identified all of the pairs, we looked for patterns and with little prompting he was able to identify several.

  1. Rhyming words have the same ending letters . . . or do they?  Words ending with –ing do not necessarily rhyme.
  2. The last word of each sentence rhymed with the last word of the next sentence.  How can you tell if it’s the last word of the sentence?  The punctuation, of course!
  3. The first and third words usually rhymed.
  4. Sometimes made-up words are fun and can rhyme with “real” words.

Looking for patterns is a skill that extends beyond literacy and can prove helpful when learning mathematics.


Next week we return our books to the library and I wonder what will be next?