Gathering the Sun; an Alphabet in Spanish and English Alma Flor Ada

            This book beautifully illustrates and honors the people who work hard in the fields to bring food to our tables.  Each letter of the alphabet is a poem in both Spanish and English


  •  Many alphabet letters
  • White construction paper
  • Oil pastels/conte crayons
  • Several pieces of produce or recipes that are made with produce


  •             Harvest (to pick produce)
  •             Produce (fruits and vegetables)
  •             Farm Worker (person who works on a farm picking produce).
  •             Customer (buys the produce and eats it)
  •             Store Keeper (the person who cleans and sells the produce).

Before Reading the Story

            Look through the book and decide which pages you would like to share with the children, this may not be the best suited book to read through complete with young children. When you pick the pages you want to read, or talk about, note the alphabet letter that is represented. Ask the children if they can think of other words that begin with the letter.

Literacy/Phonological Awareness; shows growing awareness of beginning and ending sounds in words.

Reading the Story

            Use the book to promote conversations with the children.  (Letter /D/.  Ask the children if the can tell what the farm workers are picking.  Have the children ever tasted peaches?  What are those things that the men are standing on?  What other kinds of fruits grow from trees?  Etc.

Approaches to Learning/Initiative & Curiosity; grows in eagerness to learn about and discuss a growing range of topics, ideas, and tasks. AND Language Development/Speaking & Communicating; develops increasing abilities to understand and use language to communicate information, experiences, ideas, feelings, opinions, needs, questions; and for other varied purposes.

After Reading the Story

            Make a note to the children on all the pages where people are working in the fields and they are wearing hats.  Ask the children why they think the workers are wearing hats.  Discuss with the children how important it is to protect your body from the sun when you are picking produce.  What other ways do people protect their skin?  When are other times when it is important to protect your skin from the sun’s rays?

Physical Health & development/Health Status & Practices; builds awarenss and ability to follow basic health and safety rules such as fire safety, traffic and pedestrian safety, and responding appropriately to potentially harmful objects, substances, and activities.


            Bring in several produce or recipes that uses produce to prepare with the children.  Try something using prickly pear, mango,  or a salsa recipe to carry the theme of the story. Have a taste test and make a graph of those that liked the produce and those that did not like the produce.

Mathematics/Patterns & Measurement; begins to make comparisons between several objects based on a single attribute. AND Social & Emotional Development/Self-Concept; begins to develop and express awareness of self in terms of specific abilities, characteristics, or preferences.

Music and Movement

            Sing Where oh Where are all the Children, sung to Way down yonder in the paw paw patch. which begins at 3.10 minutes into the video.

Where oh where are all the children,

Where oh where are all the children?

Where oh where are all the children?

Way down yonder in the _____patch.

Picking ______, put them in the basket,

Picking ______, put them in the basket.

Picking _____, put them in the basket,

Way down yonder in the _____ patch.

(Have the children pick different produce and then pretend to pick it accordingly.

Picking strawberries, put them in the basket

Picking apples drop them in the bucket).

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

Sing a song in English and Spanish such as Hello/Hola

Hello, hello, hello and how are you?

I’m fine, I’m fine, and I hope that you are too.

Hola, hola, hola y como estas?

Usted es bien, bien, y__________

Creative Arts/Music; participates with increasing interest and enjoyment in a variety of music activities, including listening, singing, finger plays, games, and performances.

            Sing Dig a Little Hole,

You dig a little hole

Plant a little seed

Pour a little water

Pull a little weed

Chase a little bug

Hey ho there he goes

Give a little sunshine

Watch it grow, grow, grow.

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


            At clean up have the children pretend that the blocks that they have built with are potatoes and have them pick the potatoes and put them in the boxes (the shelves).

Creative Arts/Dramatic Play; shows growing creativity and imagination in using materials and in assuming different roles in dramatic play situations.


            Ask each child to name a favorite piece of produce.  Draw a simple shape of their produce on white construction paper.  Have the children color their produce in using oil pastels/conte crayons.  After they have colored their produce in, have them use water colors and wash over the entire page.  When it is dry cut out the piece of produce and mount it to a dark piece of construction paper.  This can make a very stunning piece of artwork.  Label the produce in both English and Spanish.

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

            Add magnetic alphabet letters into the sand today. Give the children small spades or spoons to scoop out the letters and name. (I have taken a cookie sheet and traced around all my magnetic letters so that the children can match them by shape). Ask your children to name the letters that they have found. Can they think of a word that begins or ends with that letter sound?

Literacy/Alphabet Awareness; shows progress in associating the names of letters with their shapes and sounds. AND Literacy/Phonological Awareness; shows growing awareness of beginning and ending sounds in words.

Library and Writing

            Collage with alphabet letters.  Can you find the letters in your name?  Can you spell a word from the story?

Literacy/Alphabet Awareness; identifies at least 10 letters of the alphabet, especially those in their own name.

            Write a letter to a farm worker thanking him or her for all the good things that you eat.  Find a local farm or produce stand where you can send it.

Literacy/Early Writing; develops understanding that writing is a way of communicating for a variety of purposes.

Dramatic Play

            Set up a produce stand.  Bring in several baskets and have the children sort the plastic fruits and vegetables.  Add some prices, paper bags, aprons,  and a cash register. 

Social & Emotional Development/Knowledge of Families & Communities. develops growing awareness of jobs and what is required to perform them.

Math and Manipulatives

            Give the children alphabet letters.  Make a large Venn diagram on a piece of paper.  Ask the children to sort the letters by those with curved lines and those with straight lines. (If you do not have enough letters, you can make them by cutting out many 1/2 inch squares and writing the letters on them).

Mathematics/Geometry & Spatial Sense; shows growth in matching, sorting, putting in a series, and regrouping objects according to one or two attributes such as color, shape, or size.

Outdoor Play

            In Mexico parties often include a piñata.  Bring in a piñata or hang a pillowcase filled with scrunched newspaper , a tether ball, or a stuffed animal from a tree .  The children can practice hitting at it with a plastic wiffle bat or stick.

Physical Health & Development/Gross Motor Skills; demonstrates increasing abilities to coordinate movements in throwing, catching, kicking, bouncing balls, and using a slide and swing.


            Name a letter sound and ask each child to make a word that begins with that letter sound.  Older children can be challenged to think of words that end with the letter sound.

Literacy/Phonological Awareness; shows growing awareness of beginning and ending sounds in words.

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.