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Free Key Stage 2 reading comprehension resource for Pancake Day

03 March 2014

Free Key Stage 2 reading comprehension resource for Pancake Day

To celebrate Pancake Day we've put together a free Making Pancakes reading comprehension activity, complete with answers and teacher’s notes, for you to download and use at home or 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. 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.

Both 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 comprehension unit for you to download. The download includes a short text and accompanying workbook-style questions, as well as answers and teacher’s notes. The passage and questions are designed for use with Key Stage 2 pupils who demonstrate a reasonably clear 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.

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