Literature-based learning is the type of learning that occurs organically when curiosity and enthusiasm are joined with good literature, whether fiction or non-fiction. Instead of being tested on the sequence of events in a novel, the students engage in lively discussion, sharing their thoughts and opinions. They get their hands messy. Depending on the age and ability of the student, they may paint a picture of a scene from the book, construct a model using toothpicks or papier-mache. They could take a field trip to a local dairy farm, factory, hiking spot, or whatever is applicable. Cook a dish featured in your reading. This is a great way to assist little ones with those math and sensory skills. Write an alternate ending to the tale. Research the locale, or if possible, take a trip there.
Last weekend two supermoms* and I participated in our own literature-based fun. We were able to sneak away from our kids on a Friday evening and relax in company where we didn’t have to deal with immature social skills, or the latest crisis du jour. This was literature-based learning for moms. Or maybe it was just a really great excuse to get out of the house for one last breather before the academic year hurls us into busy schedules and a multitude of distractions. At any rate, we all read the book. We made it to the theater (all but one of us, who lovingly accompanied her out-of-state father to medical appointments). We talked over dinner.
The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais was a culinary and cultural adventure from Mumbai to London, from the French countryside to Paris, featuring not only Hassan and his family, but also the sights, smells and tastes of the kitchen. Food. Memory. Relationships. Family. Culture. Art. Politics. They were all themes.
After watching Helen Mirren portray a lonely French restraunteur, we had a somewhat rushed meal at a local Indian establishment (the server was faithful in reminding us that they would be closing at 10pm).
As this is not intended as a book review, or film critique, I will leave you to decide whether or not you wish to pick up Morais’ homage to gastronomy. This might be a call, however, toward literature-based learning, even after we have completed those degrees and achieved full adulthood. Certainly, this is a recommendation for friendship. Find those commonalities. Carve out some free time. Talk. Eat some naan and clarified butter (ghee).
It all makes me think we should do it again. Maybe cook something exotic ourselves. Go on a field trip. Get our hands messy. Certainly talk. I am already looking for the next book.
*Supermoms– moms who have been given more than their share of profound responsibilities, yet perform admirably with strength and grace.