ABC and 123: Tara from Raising Itty-Bitty Bookworms Joins Us!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tara from Raising Itty-Bitty Bookworms Joins Us!

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Today we are excited to welcome Tara Rison, the founder and owner of The Itty-Bitty Bookworm, a literature-based preschool curriculum, as our newest feature writer! Tara will be joining us with an exciting new bi-weekly post that will give you tips and ideas for ways to involve your kids in the kitchen.

Tara has three spirited children ages 4-9 and a sweet rescue pup named Darla. They all currently reside in the suburbs of Philadelphia where they enjoy walking and running local trails, going to the playground, reading lots of books, and cooking together. She can also be found blogging at Raising Itty-Bitty Bookworms, her personal blog, and at We Teach, where she is the group leader of The Bookworm's Bookbag. Here is a short introduction to Tara's new featured series, in her own words:

Jamie Oliver's Ted Talk got me thinking about a lot of things, but one thing in particular. American families and schools are no longer teaching children how to cook. I really hadn't thought about this, but it is so true. How can we expect our children to grow up and cook healthy meals for themselves (and/or their families) when we don't directly teach them how?

This truly resonates with me because I was never taught to cook. My mother died when I was nine years old and my father never remarried. Dad did the best he could, but with little time and money he turned to many convenience foods. This left me with little to no skill.

Without a lot of skills or “go to” recipes, I relied on a lot of frozen and boxed meals. However, a couple of years ago I made it my New Year’s Resolution to teach myself to cook. I began watching the Food Network, read cookbooks, and experimented. This was not the easiest way to learn. For this reason, I have decided to consciously teach my children how to cook.

Both of my girls are used to helping me in the kitchen and most of the time they really enjoy it. However, they usually only want to help when I am baking. Sure it is great to know how to bake cookies and quick breads, but they aren't meal recipes. Therefore, I have been having the kids help me to prepare one dinner a week. To make it fun, I connect the dinner with a children's book. We read the book as a family and then the kids and I cook the accompanying dinner. This is a fun and motivating way for them to learn how to prepare healthy, "real food" recipes.

I will be blogging all about our experiences and culinary creations in a bi-monthly post called “Little Cooks with Books” right here on ABC 123: A Learning Cooperative. I hope you will follow along. It should be interesting, and hopefully yummy.


  1. Tara will fit right in here at ABC and 123. Welcome!

    I also am self taught with cooking. I love that my daughter already loves to bake with me.

  2. Tara that's so cool! I LOVE your site, and can't wait to see your new feature! Welcome aboard!!

  3. Awesome! I can't wait to check it out.

  4. Yaaaa-hooooooo!
    I am so happy. SO excited. Tara, you totally rock.