Strega Nona, by Tomie dePaola

                  What happens when Big Anthony does not listen to Strega Nona and does what she asks him not to? 


  • A box of cooked spaghetti
  • Several different kinds of pasta that can be strung
  • Box of cornstarch
  • Two to three cookie sheets


  •                   Pasta (another name for fancy noodles)
  •                   Grazie (thank you in Italian)
  •                   Confess (tell the truth)
  •                   Hero (someone who everyone admires and thinks is cool)

Before Reading the Story

                  Talk with the children about the importance of listening to adults.  Why do you think they make rules for children?  Have you ever disobeyed your parent, what happened?  Explain that the story today is about a boy named Anthony who did not listen when an adult told him not to touch something.

Reading the Story

Sing song Strega Nona’s directions to the pot. Encourage the children to hum along with you. There is a great reading of this story on You Tube

After Reading the Story

                  Ask the children if they can recall some of the jobs that Big Anthony does for Strega Nona.  Ask them if they ever help anyone at home or school?  What kinds of jobs do they do for others?  List on a piece of paper.

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.


                  Put out cookie trays with a cornstarch and water mix.  Put the cornstarch onto the tray and slowly add small amounts of water.  You will know when the consistency is correct because you can scoop up the cornstarch mix in your hand but then the warmth of your skin makes it sort of melt between your fingers.  Let the children experiment with this mix.  Can they write their name in it?  Talk about the cause and effect.

Literacy/Early Writing; progresses from scribbles, shapes, or pictures to represent ideas, to using letter-like symbols, to copying or writing familiar words such as their own name. AND Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; begins to use senses and a variety of tools and simple measuring devices to gather information, investigate materials, and observe processes and relationships.

Music and Movement

Sing the Pasta Pot song to the tune of Are You Sleeping?


Encourage the children to build Strega Nona’s house. The children can build it and then destroy it pretending that they are the pot of spaghetti.

Approaches to Learning/Initiative & Curiosity; approaches tasks and activities with increased flexibility, imagination, and inventiveness.


                  Cut pieces of yarn about 8 inches long.  The children can dip these into bowls of paint and then drag across a piece of paper. Add a spoon to the bowl of paint to help the children with dipping the yarn.

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; develops growing strength, dexterity, and control needed to use tools such as scissors, paper punch, stapler, and hammer. AND 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

                  If you center allows you to use food, add cooked noodles to the table.  How do they feel? 

Approaches to Learning/Initiative & Curiosity; chooses to participate in an increasing variety of tasks and activities.

Library and Writing

                  Use cooked pasta or pieces of yarn (pretend spaghetti) to draw letters and shapes with.  You can draw the child’s name on a large piece of paper and the child can take glue, cover the lines and then attach yarn on top.

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; progresses in abilities to use writing, drawing, and art tools, including pencils, markers, chalk, paint brushes, and various types of technology.

Dramatic Play

                  Add a large pot to the center today and the children can act out the story.  What else can you cook in your magic pot? Also add a kerchief and a small apron if available. Hang the picture of Strega Nona in the center.

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; demonstrates progress in abilities to retell and dictate stories from books and experiences; to act out stories in dramatic play; and to predict what will happen next in a story.

Math and Manipulatives

                  Bring in several different kinds of pasta that the children can string.  Can they make a pattern with their pasta?

Mathematics/Patterns & Measurement; enhances abilities to recognize, duplicate, and extend simple patterns using a variety of materials. AND Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; grows in hand-eye coordination in building with blocks, putting together puzzles, reproducing patterns and shapes, stringing beads, and using scissors.

Outdoors Play

                  Weather permitting, give the children large buckets and add dirt, water, pine needles, rocks, sand, etc.  Make bubbling pots of whatever.

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; demonstrates progress in abilities to retell and dictate stories from books and experiences; to act out stories in dramatic play; and to predict what will happen next in a story.


                  Re-read the magic chants that Strega Nona said to the pot.  Ask the children if they can name the rhyming words.  As the children go to the next activity, give them a word and ask them if they can make a rhyming word for it.

Literacy/Phonological Awareness; progresses in recognizing matching sounds and rhymes in familiar words, games, songs, stories, and poems.


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.