Eating the Alphabet, by Lois Ehlert

Teaching the alphabet is fun with this book that names fruits and vegetables from A-Z


  • Large sheet of paper with a simple watermelon slice shape drawn on it. Do not add seeds.
  • Dice
  • Colored tissue paper torn into about 1 inch squares, circles, organic shapes
  • A goodly amount of white school glue
  • 3 stalks of celery with the leaves
  • 3 cups about the size of a coffee cup
  • food coloring
  • If you have a class allowance, purchase several unusual fruits or vegetables.


There are many fruits and vegetables in this book that may be unfamiliar to you or the children. There is a glossary at the end of the book to help you with fruits and vegetables that may be unfamiliar.

Introducing the Story

Start a conversation that talks about how not everybody likes or eats the same foods. Ask the children if they have ever tasted one of several fruits or vegetables, choose ones that are not as common that you may have tried. (For example; currants, eggplant, kiwifruit, swiss chard, and star fruit). Explain to the children that the world is full of different kinds of fruits and vegetables and people eat different foods throughout the world. Tell the children that this is an alphabet book that names many kinds of fruits and vegetables.

Social & Emotional development/Knowledge of Families & Communities; progresses in understanding similarities and respecting differences among people such as genders, race, special needs, culture, language, and family structures.

Reading the Story

Begin each letter by putting your finger under the letter and saying capital (A)____, small (a)_____, what fruits and vegetables begin with (A)____? Then ask the children if they can name any of the fruits/vegetables that begin with the letter. Take time to allow the children to talk about the different fruits/vegetables that they see on the page. (My Mom makes guacamole with avocado, I ate apricots from a can, I don’t like those long things).

Literacy/Alphabet Knowledge; knows the letters of the alphabet are a special category of visual graphics that can be individually named.

After Reading the Story

Using a chalkboard, whiteboard, or large sheet of paper attached to the wall; write a letter of a child in the room. Say I am thinking of child whose name starts with this letter. See if the children can recognize the letter and whose name starts with it. Then ask if anyone can think of another word that starts with that letter. Continue until you have done all the children in the rooms’ first name letter.

Literacy/Alphabet Knowledge; increases in ability to notice the beginning letters of familiar words. AND Literacy/Phonological Awareness; associates sounds with written words, such as awareness that different words begin with the same sound.

Music and Movement

Sing the Alphabet Song with the children. Sing it starting off in a very soft whisper voice and as you sing through the letters begin to raise your volume level until you are singing LOUDLY, not shouting. Then begin loudly and sing softer and softer until you are a whisper by the end of the song.

Language Development/Listening & Understanding; shows progress in understanding and following simple and multi-step directions.

Sing, There Is A Child At Our School to the tune of BINGO

There is a child at our school,
Can you guess his name-o
____ ____ _____ _____ _____,
____ ____ _____ _____ _____,
____ ____ ____ ______ _____,
Child’s name-o

I do this on a dry erase board so the children can see the letters as we sing them. Note: many children’s names have more/less than 5 letters so just make up the tune to fit the child’s letters of their name.

Literacy/Print Awareness & Concepts; recognizes a word as a unit of print, or awareness that letters are grouped to form words, and that words are separated by spaces.

Sing, Where Oh Where Are All The Children? to Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch.

Where oh where are all the children? Clap hands

Where oh where are all the children? Clap hands

Where oh where are all the children? Clap hands

Way down yonder in the apple orchard. Use thumb to point behind

Picking apples, put them in the basket Act out

Picking apples, put them in the basket. Act out

Picking apples, put them in the basket, Act out

Way down yonder in the apple orchard.

Name and act out picking different fruits and vegetables. (Cutting lettuce, lifting pumpkins, picking berries).

Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of and abilities to observe, describe, and discuss the natural world, materials, living things, and natural processes.


Take 3 celery stalks and place each in a cup of water colored with food coloring. Make sure the water is dark, 10 drops or more per cup. Put these into the discovery center. As the day goes on, check back to see what is happening to the celery. The water soaks up inside the celery and will turn the leaves different colors. Encourage the children to talk about what they are seeing take place and challenge them to draw on paper what is occurring to the celery.

Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; begins to participate in simple investigations to test observations, discuss and draw conclusions, and form generalizations. Develops a growing ability to collect, describe, and record information through a variety of means, including discussion, drawings, maps, and charts.


Give the children empty toy bins or shoe boxes and tell them to pretend that they are taking foods to the store. How many blocks can they get in their “truck”? Can they get more blocks in if they dump them in to the truck or stack them in to the truck?

Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to use language to compare numbers of objects in terms such as more, less, greater than, fewer, equal to.


On pieces of white paper (white construction paper works well) draw a simple fruit or vegetable with a black crayon or permanent marker. If you are an artist, ask the children what fruit/vegetable they would like to collage. If you are not a good artist, draw apples, potatoes, and bananas. Put the torn tissue paper pieces out on the table along with bowls of school glue. Give each child a paint brush and show them how to paint on the fruit/vegetable shape and then lay a piece of tissue paper on top. Continue filling in the shape. As the tissue paper overlaps it will make new colors and shades of color. Lay flat to dry. Or; draw the fruits and vegetables and then let the children color with oil pastels. After they have finished coloring, use watercolor paint to make a wash over the fruit/vegetable. The paint will not stick to the oil pastel. This can have a very lovely effect.

Creative Arts/Art; gains ability in using different art media and materials in a variety of ways for creative expression and representation.

Sand and Water

Put magnetic letters in the table today with enough sand to bury them. The children can use a spoon or magnet to search for the letters. As the children pull the letters from the sand, ask them if they can name the letter and/or make the letter sound.

Literacy/Alphabet Knowledge; shows progress in associating the names of letters with their shapes and sounds.

Library and Writing

Take a piece of paper and divide it in half. On one side write FRUIT and on the other write VEGETABLE. Explain to the children that it is important to eat fruits and vegetables every day to help keep our bodies healthy. At each meal for the next several days, ask the children if they can name any fruit or vegetable that is on their plate. Write them in the correct column. After a week, count how many fruits and vegetables your class has had served in the last week.

Mathematics/Number & Operations; demonstrates increasing interest and awareness of numbers and counting as a means for solving problems and determining quantity.

Dramatic Play

Encourage the children to pretend to make fruit or vegetable soup and sort out all the fruits and vegetables in your dramatic play area. Can they name each item? Ask them if they have ever eaten the item and then encourage them to talk about in what form. (I eat applesauce at my house, My Mommy mashes bananas for my baby brother to eat, I like orange juice).

Science/Scientific Knowledge; shows increased awareness and beginning understanding of changes in materials and cause-effect relationships. AND Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & Problem Solving; develops increasing abilities to classify, compare, and contrast objects, events, and experiences.

Math and Manipulatives

Hang the watermelon slice picture on the wall. Let the children take turns rolling a dice and then drawing that number of seeds onto the watermelon slice picture. This works best as a small group activity/game. Play until everyone has had several turns to roll the dice and add seeds to the watermelon shape.

Mathematics/number & Operations; begins to associate number concepts, vocabulary, quantities, and written numerals in meaningful ways.

Outdoor Play

Bring your plastic fruits and vegetables from the dramatic center outdoors today. Bury them in the sandbox for the children to dig up and name.

Social & Emotional Development/Cooperation; develops increasing abilities to give and take in interactions; to take turns in games or using materials; and to interact without being overly submissive or directive.


On a large sheet of paper make 4-6 columns. At the bottom of each column, draw a fruit (apple, banana, orange, strawberry, watermelon). Ask the children to name which one they like best and write their name in the correct column. Later during another transition or waiting time you can talk about which fruit was liked the most, least, count how many children liked the banana best, etc.).

Social & Emotional Development/Self-Concept; begins to develop and express awareness of self in specific abilities, characteristics, and preferences. AND Mathematics/number & Operations; begins to associate number concepts, vocabulary, quantities, and written numerals in meaningful ways.

Dear Parent- Today we read Eating the Alphabet, a book about fruits and vegetables. Ask your child to name some fruits and then some vegetables for you. If your child is interested in writing, write his/her name at the top of a piece of paper and encourage him/her to copy it below. Congratulate them and name the letters in their name and those they have copied.

About Kerry CI am an Early Childhood Educator who has seen daily the value of shared book readings with my preschoolers. I use the book theme in my centers and can daily touch upon a variety of Early Childhood Domains which makes assessing the children easy and individualized.