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Lesson Plan

Inspire Healthful Reading Using Unconventional Texts

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Inspire Healthful Reading Using Unconventional Texts

Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Minilesson
Estimated Time One 30-minute session
Lesson Author

International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Instruction and Activities

Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Demonstrate an understanding of how to read basic information from nutritional labels by differentiating between healthy snacks and special treats

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Instruction and Activities

Note that student assessment using the pass/fail Inspire Healthful Reading Objective Checklist is ongoing throughout the lesson.

  1. Tap background knowledge by asking students, “What is a treat? What is a snack?” Jot their ideas on an interactive white board, dry-erase board, or chart paper for future reference.

  2. Engage active participation by asking students to raise their hands if they like apples, strawberries, and so on. Tally the totals on your interactive white board, dry-erase board, or chart paper. Discuss the differences and similarities in totals between fresh fruits and vegetables and the matching dessert, or special treat.

  3. Show a fruit and a corresponding dessert, such as a strawberry and a box for a strawberry pie. Discuss with students which is a healthy snack and which is a special treat by explaining that there are several ingredients (such as fat, fiber, and salt content) in a food that help us determine if it is truly a healthy snack or a special treat. For example, while apples have approximately 15 grams of sugar, this is natural sugar. Apple pies indeed have the sugar of apples but also included “added” sugar. Added sugars increase the likelihood that the food item is a special treat instead of a healthy snack.

  4. Model critical thinking about food for students, asking how much sugar is in a fruit such as an apple. Use the magnifying glass to look for a nutrition label. If none is found, show students how to look online for nutrition labels at Self Nutrition Data: Know What You Eat, and compare the amounts of sugar in an apple versus apple pie.

  5. For guided practice, select students to repeat the process of examining nutrition labels for a carrot and carrot cake. Have them use the magnifying glass to search for the word “sugar” and the total grams of sugar in each food.

  6. For independent practice, place students in their preselected pairs. Ask one student per pair to retrieve a magnifying glass and the other to retrieve two foods from the display table. Have each pair examine the foods to determine the total amount of sugar in each and whether the food is a special treat or a healthy snack.

  7. Reunite the whole class at the interactive white board, dry-erase board, or chart paper so that the pairs can report back about their foods. Ask them which are healthy treats and which are special snacks. If necessary, review one piece of information to look for (that is, sugar grams) to determine the difference between a healthy snack and a special treat.

  8. Ask students, “What is another ingredient in food that helps us know whether the food is a healthy snack or a special treat?” Give prompts to help them list other ingredients they have heard their parents or caregivers mention, such as fat, calories, or salt.

  9. As a class, fill out the Venn Diagram interactive and use it to review the differences and similarities between “healthy snacks” and “special treats.”

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Circulate around the room with the Inspire Healthful Reading Objective Checklist. As you observe students communicating with their peers and manipulating the foods and corresponding labels, place a plus sign (+) by the objectives that you have witnessed individual students being able to accomplish without assistance and place a minus sign (-) by the objectives that individual students do not seem able to accomplish at this time. If you are unable to witness an individual student’s accomplishment of an objective, call upon that student separately to demonstrate their food and nutrition label reading skills, as dictated by the objectives.

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