Author: Ryan Afromsky

3-Year-Olds Nonfiction

Most likely your child has been to a restaurant — maybe you even have a favorite. But does your child know what happens behind the scenes? Where does the food come from? Who cooks the food? Where does the food get cooked? Does the kitchen look like your kitchen at home? Who are the workers? This is a great book for teaching your child about different types of workers in your community, a basic social studies lessons for young children.

Before, During and After Reading

Letter Knowledge

Introduce the title. As you read the title, track under the words with your finger from left to right.   Then, tell your child that this title has four words. Read the title again very slowly while pointing once for each word in the title. End with counting the words, one -two -three -four, as you point to each word. You can also talk about the first word (I) being a very short word while the last word (Restaurant) is very long. (By doing these kinds of activities as you read, you are helping your child develop more awareness about the functions and features of print.)

Oral Language

Introduce the author and illustrator. Tell your child the author and illustrator of the book. Talk about the roles of the author and illustrator. Toward the end of this book, there is a page dedicated to the author and illustrator that tells about how they became interested in writing and drawing. Share this page with your child.  

Relate to your child’s experiences. Ask your child to name his favorite restaurant and then ask questions about it. You might ask: When we go to your favorite restaurant, do we order food at the counter or does a waiter take our order at the table? What are some of your favorite foods to order? Do you know who cooks the food? Tell your child that you are going to read a book about a man named Ryan who owns a restaurant.    

Oral Language

Talk about the illustrations. As you read the book, take time to describe the illustrations or ask your child to describe what he sees. For example, the first two pages show the exterior and the interior of the restaurant. You might talk about the difference between being “inside” the restaurant or “outside” the restaurant. Ask your child to point to the words that show the name of the restaurant. Point out that the name of the restaurant is Ryan’s Place and it starts with the letter R. Tell your child that we can learn about the restaurant both by looking at the picture and by reading the words on the page. Ask your child to describe what the outside of the restaurant looks like from the picture. On the second page, there is a menu posted on the wall inside the restaurant. Ask your child what a menu is used for.  Continue thinking of open-ended questions that will engage your child in a conversation throughout the book.  

Build vocabulary.  Define and discuss new words as you read the story (sparkly clean, deliveries, waiter, tower, customer, crew).  

Oral Language and Beginning Writing

Play “restaurant.” Help your child set up a pretend restaurant for dramatic play. You might include a small table with unbreakable plates, glasses and silverware; a kitchen area to “cook” the food; apron and chef’s hat; signage for the restaurant; menus and a notepad for taking orders; pretend money and a cash register. Use the book as a guide. Go back to the first page and point out the sign with the name of the restaurant. Ask your child to think of a name for his pretend restaurant (help as needed) and then provide materials for your child to make a sign. You will also need menus. Help your child create menus for the customers. Once you have “opened” your restaurant, join your child in the fun!

Find more at-home reading activities for three-year-olds, and complete the Reading BrightStart! Preschool Reading Screener for parents of three- to five-year-olds.