Read It and Eat

Read it and Eat is a program that provides early literacy opportunities and introducing families to healthy, affordable, easy cooking lessons. This extremely successful program was created with funding from Arizona Complete Health and has been providing classes for almost ten years.

NATIVE HEALTH offers Read it and Eat at two NATIVE HEALTH locations, NATIVE HEALTH Central and NATIVE HEALTH Mesa. These are offered once monthly at each location. NATIVE HEALTH Mesa hosts Read it and Eat on the third Tuesday of each month and NATIVE HEALTH Central hosts Read it and Eat on the third Thursday of each month.

Partnering with the Mesa Public Library, NATIVE HEALTH offers a fun approach to developing literacy and culinary skills. Librarians introduce a book that ties into the monthly cooking class. Targeted recipes of fruits and vegetables tie in with the Arizona growing season/produce. Children and families listen, read, sing, dance and other interactive games to get them interested in the month’s topic. This is the Read it portion of the program. During the Eat it portion, youth and their families prepare and taste new dishes. A single theme is carried through both halves of the program, creating an integrated educational experience. Read it and Eat fills the gap of school readiness programs for families without other means, while teaching families the importance of literacy, nutrition, family cooking, and risks of childhood obesity. During the Eat it section, families learn step-by-step cooking tutorials. Youth and families develop confidence with kitchen utensils and taste new foods while not worrying about spending household resources.

At the end of each class, participants receive a bag of produce (worth $10.00).

Through Read it and Eat, it is hoped that youth may develop a commitment to lifelong learning and healthy lifestyles. This program caters to the unique needs of the community. Attendees state that they enjoy this fun, interactive, non-threatening method to learn about incorporating seasonal fruits and vegetables into their meal planning.

For more information about this program please contact Susan Levy, NATIVE HEALTH Communications & Community Relations Director at (602) 279-5262, ext. 11027 or email: 

Read It and Eat: Children’s Literacy, Obesity and Access to Health Foods

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