Teach Through Books: Pete’s A Pizza by William Steig

Teach Through Books: Pete’s A Pizza by William Steig

Age level: Preschool, Early Elementary

Description: So William Steig is making his second appearance here at Teach Through. Pete’s A Pizza is a simple story about a boy who’s feeling pretty gloomy because it’s raining outside. His father decides to cheer him up by making him into a pizza. The story then takes the reader through the process of Pete being kneaded and stretched as dough, tossed like dough, and having pretend ingredients placed on him. It beautifully illustrates and example of imaginative play, and can be directly extended after the book.

Skills & Modifications: The primary way that I use this book is through extending it’s concept after reading it. I stole this idea from a teaching assistant I had the pleasure of working with several years ago. To extend the idea of the book, simply re-enact the book by making your student into a pizza like Pete’s father does to him in the story.

  • Imaginative Play – For my students who enjoy stretches, squeezes, and gross motor activities; this can be a great way to motivate them to engage in imaginative play activities. In the book, Pete’s father actually puts items representing pizza ingredients on him, however I typically just pretend to be placing ingredients.
  • Manding (Requesting) – Several of my students especially love the portion where I stretch, squeeze, roll, and toss them like dough. I am able to get them to mand for all of these actions because they are so highly motivated by the activity. I also get the students to mand for ingredients. I can ask them what they like on their pizza, or I can allow them to make a silly pizza (such as one with smelly shoes or worms for toppings.) I only allow the silly ingredients if the child is participating in the humorous aspect and truly understands that those ingredients do not belong on a pizza.
  • Summarizing/Recalling a story – For some students, I will do the interactive activity of “making” them a pizza. Afterward, I will ask them what I put on them. For example, I’ll ask “What ingredients did I put on you to make you really tasty?” or “Did I use pepperonis?” While initially playing the game, I try to use different motor movements and/or sound effects for each ingredient so I can use that as a gestural or verbal prompt to help them summarize the activity.
  • Peer Play – I have also used this with students to encourage peer play and taking turns. I will “make” two pizzas simultaneously and trade turns placing ingredients on each pizza. This is a fantastic way to engage in peer play for students who are highly motivated by the pizza activity but hesitant to engage in parallel play or play interactions with peers. You can increase the language and social play expectation by having your student and his/her peer take turns being the pizza-maker.

Pros: I love using the kinesthetic activity to extend the lesson. My preschool students especially respond well.

Cons: It’s William Steig! There are no cons!

Cost: $7.99 You should invest in this book if: Your child enjoys motor activities and sensory activities such as squeezes and stretches.

ABLLS: F6, F8, F11

VB-MAPP: Listener Responding 5, Social Behavior 4, Social Behavior 5, Mand 7, Mand 8, Social Behavior 9, Social Behavior 14

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