Home > Programs & Services > Culinary Literacy Center > Nourishing Literacy NOURISHING LITERACY

Nourishing Literacy provides food, literacy, and life skills learning to children, teens, and intergenerational groups.

Our team uses a collaborative, open-ended, creative teaching approach informed by our experience in food, wellness, literacy learning, and multimedia art.

The Nourishing Literacy team has an extensive background leading interactive cooking classes to school groups in libraries. In addition to this work, multidisciplinary food and wellness programs are held remotely, within school classrooms, and at outdoor locations.

Nourishing Literacy is made possible in part by a generous grant from the Edna G. Kynett Memorial Foundation.

School Group Programs

School Group Programs

Nourishing Literacy's 2021 / 2022 classroom offerings are designed for elementary school students and pre-kindergarten groups. We enjoy working with all ages, and are able to provide customized programs for middle school and high school school groups. Please share your interest and questions through our Classroom Teacher Intake Form.

For the 2021 / 2022 school year, the following programs are available for student groups. Please contact kitchen@freelibrary.org with questions.


Virtual Visits

Remote 30- to 60-minute set of literacy, art, wellness, and food-related activities. Can take place through Google Classroom or Zoom.


Remote 45- to 75-minute cooking experience using limited materials and ingredients sourced by classroom teacher and / or caregivers.


Remote 30- to 45-minute observational cooking experience, with guided creative activities.

Music With Sunshine
Cooking classes

In Person

In-Classroom Visits

In-person 30- to 60-minute set of literacy, art, wellness, and food-related activities, with small tasting for students.

Pop-Up Fruit and Veggie Bar

Customized fruit bowls or veggie bowls prepared for as many classrooms and students as possible, set up in an outdoor location at your school site. Requested donation of $100 to cover the cost of ingredients, with limited slots available to visit schools unable to donate.

All food information and recipes feature accessible produce and pantry items. Our visit with your group can be tailored to support specific interests and skill-building as much as possible. The Nourishing Literacy team follows careful safety protocols when preparing and serving food while visiting classrooms.

Family Programs

Family Programs

The Nourishing Literacy team has a few different options for families and intergenerational groups during the 2021 / 2022 school year. Program announcements can be found on the Culinary Literacy Center's page as well as our Eventbrite, Facebook, and Instagram pages.

Cook-Alongs, Watch-Alongs

Open opportunities to join the Nourishing Literacy team in exploring recipes and food learning. Cook with us, gathering a list of ingredients, or watch along as a viewer.

Books and Cooks Afterschool Meet-Ups

Activities and read-alouds for elementary-aged children and their caregivers, with members of the Parkway Central Children's Department.

Pop-Up Fruit and Veggie Bar

Gather with Nourishing Literacy team members and design-your-own fruit bowl or veggie bowl, held at revolving outdoor locations.

Family Classes

Families are invited to cook with us in the Parkway Central Library kitchen classroom. Limited spaces are available. The requested fee for this program is $20 per pair, with an additional $5 requested per family member. Free and discounted tickets are available for SNAP eligible families and any families who request a sliding scale.

Popup Fruit Bowls at Bustleton Library
Learning Folders
Popup Fruit Bowls at Lawncrest Library

Learning Folders

Nourishing Literacy draws from our Learning Folders when offering programs to school groups and families. These folders are available to teachers, caregivers, and students to use in a self-directed way. For ideas on how to modify the content in the folders to your age group or other needs, please contact kitchen@freelibrary.org.

Cook-Along with Nourishing Literacy

Recipes, booklists, and additional information that supplement some of our live public cook-along events.

Food Videos with Nourishing Literacy

Glossaries, activities, and recipes that accompany our series of short food learning videos.

Recharge with Nourishing Literacy

Glossaries, activities, recipes, and additional information that pair with our 2020 / 2021 Teacher Recharge events. These events were offered to teachers and caregivers and featured concepts and activities for modification with children and youth audiences.

Community Support

Community Support is Always Appreciated!

To offer financial support to Nourishing Literacy and/or to the Culinary Literacy Center at large, please donate online or contact the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation at giving@freelibrary.org.

Food vendors with extra food-safe supplies who are interested in being an ingredient sponsor for our Nourishing Literacy programs are encouraged to contact kitchen@freelibrary.org.

Supporting our work in the form of donated time is also greatly valued! To learn more about Nourishing Literacy volunteer opportunities, please contact kitchen@freelibrary.org.

Tonii Teaching About Corn


The Nourishing Literacy team presented a Cooking with Youth in Your Library event at the 2019 American Library Association Annual Conference. Event audio can be found here.

Below is a selection of our blog posts that include ingredient information and ideas, book recommendations, recipes, and activity prompts.

The Rainbow Pantry

Ingredients Across Tables

Kitchen Counter Inspirations

Nourishing Literacy TV

The Nourishing Literacy food learning videos are about five minutes in length and share information and ideas about a different whole food ingredient. Each video includes an introduction about the food item, a no-knife cooking idea, and an extended learning prompt. Our videos often feature special guests and friends from the library!

Additional Videos

Handwashing Tutorials

Additional information on handwashing can be found in our supplementary blog post.

Creative Cooking Slideshows

Enjoy these video slideshows featuring Dietz & Watson ingredients. Thank you Dietz & Watson for the inspiration, and for the support of our work and our Culinary Literacy Center colleagues' work!

Veggie Talk!

For very young children and their families, in collaboration with Read, Baby, Read.