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Free Key Stage 2 comprehension resource for Pancake Day

12 February 2021

Free Key Stage 2 comprehension resource for Pancake Day

To celebrate Pancake Day we've put together a free Making Pancakes reading comprehension activity for you to download and use at home or in school.

Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Pancake Day – however you refer to it, everyone loves an excuse to gorge on those delicious honey-coloured discs of buttery goodness. What’s more, pancake flipping competitions and races are a surefire way to get even the most committed children away from their smartphones and games consoles this half term. But, as well as being an fun event for the whole family, Pancake Day can also be educational.

Firstly, there’s the historical and cultural context of the day. Shrove Tuesday is part of the Christian calendar which commemorates the eve of Lent (40 days and nights of fasting and prayers before Easter)Eggs and butter were among the foods that used to be forbidden during Lent, so they were often used up in pancakes.

Many of the different names for Pancake Day relate to its associations with the penitential season of Lent. For example, the word Shrove comes from the Old English word, Shrive – to confess one’s sins, while Mardi Gras means 'fat Tuesday' in French, Carnival  comes from the Latin for 'farewell to the flesh' and Fasnacht is 'night of the fast' in German.

Then there’s the practical side to Pancake Day: actually making the pancakes themselves. Not only does this involve weighing, measuring, proportionality and ratio, key numeracy skills and concepts for children to master, it also requires children to read and follow a recipe, thereby developing comprehension skills as well.

Recipes are a form of instructional writing and as with any piece instructional writing, they tend to use the second person, imperative mood (or 'bossy verbs') and often employ time connectives, such as 'first', 'next' and 'finally'. This makes them ideal for developing childrens’ vocabulary and sequencing skills. Instructional writing, along with other types of non-fiction text, can aslo be a good way of widening a child’s reading experience.

To support your child’s reading comprehension skills and to introduce them to the history of Pancake Day we’ve put together a FREE photocopiable reading coprehension activity for you to download. The resource includes a short text with accompanying questions and answers, and is designed for use with Key Stage 2 pupils who demonstrate a reasonable understanding of significant ideas, events and characters, are beginning to use inference and deduction and are able to refer to the text when explaining their views.

For more comprehension inspiration, why not explore our new Complete Comprehension series which includes more than a 100 carefully chosen texts and is designed to support children from their first steps in comprehension through to secure ownership and confident application of comprehension skills. 

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