March 2, 2001

San Diego City Schools Combines Literacy and Nutrition Education With "Meet The Author" and Pear Bear Program

San Diego City Schools Food Services teamed up with the Pear Bureau Northwest to promote literacy and healthy eating through it's most recent Meet the Author program. Last week 340 third grade elementary students had the opportunity to meet the author of The PearBear Chronicles, Maggie André. Students at Hamilton and Chesterton elementary schools received autographed copies of the book The PearBear Chronicles: Pears, Peas and a Very Small Dragon and read along with the author as she read the story aloud. Chesterton's Principal Michael Cole said that the books were "an added support to our students as they will be able to add the books to their home libraries" thereby continuing to promote literacy.

After the reading, Ms. André answered a variety of questions from the students ranging from how she became an author to what it was like growing up on a farm. She included a small lesson on the three basic steps to writing a story which are: establishing a setting, creating crisis, and problem resolution. The third grade teachers were encouraged to incorporate this lesson into their classroom creating writing curriculum.

Chesterton Elementary School third grader Brandon Dickel, (son of Gregory Dickel, ETC, ATGPAC) and his classmates learn about the food guide pyramid with the help of PearBear. Seated is PearBear Chronicles author Maggie André and instructor Connie Hom, San Diego City Schools Food Services Marketing Coordinator.

As a special treat, PearBear himself came to assist Connie Hom, Food Services Marketing Coordinator, to teach the students about healthy eating choices using the food guide pyramid. Ms. Hom, PearBear, and the students found the proper places on the food guide pyramid for foods from pears to pizza. PearBear recommended eating the greatest amount of the foods from the bottom of the pyramid (the breads and grains), the fewest from the top of the pyramid (fats, oils and sweets) and several servings of fruits and vegetables (especially pears, of course), every day.

This program was a way to get children interested in reading, writing and nutrition in a fun, interactive setting. "San Diego City Schools Food Services, Pear Bear and Maggie André made nutrition come alive through a delightful story about a Pear Bear," stated Robin Dime, Chesterton's, Peer Coach, Staff Developer. She also stated "Our third grade students loved meeting the author up close and personal and receiving their own autographed book. Many went back to their classes ready and willing to write their own stories… and they will."

Article submitted by: Margaret Luch, Dietetic Intern, Utah State University.

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