Chop, Chop, Chopsticks!

Mo Willems likely wins the award for best author in our home. But, Amy Krouse Rosenthal is a close second. This week I have decided to use Chopsticks by Amy Krouse Rosenthal for the weekly Family Dinner with a Side of Literacy post.

“Let’s Start with the Side”

Book: Chopsticks by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Age Level: Approximately age 4-8 (but our almost three-year-old ADORES it!).

Side Dish Reading for Mom & Dad: Reading for Two: A Double Challenge OR Using Think-Alouds to Improve Reading Comprehension. In my current graduate class the strategy of Think-Alouds was recently discussed. I truly feel this is a worthwhile strategy for teachers AND parents to complete with their children. There are plenty of sources on the web for parents to utilize and learn about this worthwhile reading comprehension strategy. One can even search a magnitude of YouTube videos that demonstrate how to successfully complete a Think-Aloud with a child. Seriously. Check it out!

Literacy Activities:

Before Reading the Book:

  • Read the title aloud and discuss. What are chopsticks? Where and who might use chopsticks? How does your child eat their food (i.e. fork, fingers, off of your floor, from the family pet’s dish, etc.)?

While Reading the Book:

  • Periodically ask you child what they think will happen next in the story. Be sure to look at illustrations or foreshadowing clues.
  • As always, try to focus on a few new vocabulary words when reading this book with your child. These new words may include chopsticks, venture, stumped, unusual, fancy, or culinary. If you followed my previous Dragons Love Tacos post, you could add some of these words to your word wall at home.
  • Depending on the age of your child, focus on discussing figurative language and multiple meanings words that are located in the book. For example, “attached at the hip,” “whisked away” (by a whisk), and “no one stirred, not even the spoon.”
  • Try to move beyond just having your child name objects in the pictures – ask them what is happening in the pictures. What are some of the kitchen utensils pictured in the book used for?

After Reading the Book:

  • Try to lead your child through the process of retelling the story in their own words. What happened to the chopsticks?
  • Further discuss the idea of together and apart. What are some common things individuals do alone? What are some common things people do together? What did the chopsticks do together and alone in the story?  This book lends itself for meaningful conversations about how being apart from a favorite family member, friend or thing can actually be a positive experience (even if scary!).
  • Depending on the age of your child, try to give further examples of figurative language beyond those examples in the story. Can they come up with an example of their own?

Parents, Add  A Side Dish of Literacy to Your Home:  Last week we discussed adding a word wall to your home. This week consider adding “visual literacy” to your home/family literacy routine.

Here are some sources for you to enjoy and further your knowledge about visual literacy AND it’s importance:

Family Fun Activity:

  • Amy Krouse Rosenthal has created an activity guide for her book Chopsticks. Check it out HERE.
  • In addition, a simple internet search retrieved THIS adorable arts and craft idea. Just grab some free chopsticks the next time you order Chinese, felt, googly eyes and pipe cleaners and voilà you have chopstick cuteness. This also creates a fun opportunity for children to “retell” the story to other family members.
  • As a family, take turns using a pair of chopsticks to pick up various items around the house. Who can be crowned the Chopstick King/Queen?

“For the Main Dish”

The Recipe: Shrimp with Thai Noodles and Peanut Sauce

Again, I would prefer to use some of my more gourmet spicy Asian recipes but this blog centers around “family dinners.” So, I went with a trusty household favorite from good ole’ Betty Crocker. I apologize for the peanut butter ingredient; I know peanut allergies are everywhere. But, if your family is lucky enough to be a family free of peanut allergies – this recipe should please the wee and big kiddos. At least the noodle and peanut butter part?

Be sure to include a set of chopsticks for everyone to use as they enjoy the meal!

Bring on the Chopstick fun,



Bernard, K. (2012, February). Think aloud strategy. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from

Conner, J., Farr. R (n.d.). Using think-alouds to improve reading comprehension. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from

Finley, T. (2014, February). Common core in action: ten visual literacy strategies. Retrieved March 30, 2015 from

PBS Kids (n.d.). Reading to two: a double challenge. Retrieved from

Shrimp with thai noodles and peanut sauce (n.d.). Retrieved March 31, 2015 from

Stephenson, S. (2014, September). Visual literacy through children’s picture books. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from

Stephenson, S. (2013, April). Visual literacy – investigate and play with images. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from

Yeh, K. (2013, October). Building speech and language with chopsticks. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from


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