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Rico Eats a Rainbow: The Joy of Cooking, Eating, and Reading

On Monday, November 20, LINC partnered with PS18R, The John G Whittier School on Staten Island for a special literacy program–one that united the joy of reading with the joy of cooking and eating healthy.

The program started with a vibrant tale entitled Rico Eats a Rainbow by author Jessica M. Miller and illustrator Sameer Kassar. Written by a former Junior High School Principal with a Ph.D. in public health, this book is designed to help parents and educators begin dialogues with children regarding healthy eating habits, encourage interest in shopping for foods, and create a space to introduce different foods. The protagonist, Rico, has a wonderful visit with his Auntie, eating a rainbow of foods, and returns home to share his excitement with his parents who embark on a family trip to the local farmer’s market. Rico takes the lead and uses the colors of the rainbow as a guide to explain the importance of eating a wide variety of foods like vegetables, starches, fruit, and proteins.

Tasting new foods can be a path to learning about new places and an opportunity to see the world differently, just like reading. It’s also a great way to instill healthy eating habits with an openness to many other cultures. And just like early literacy sets a foundation for achievement later on, introducing children to healthy eating messages at a young age is one of the most important ways to build a bright future for a child.

LINC’s Cooking Up Good Readers program was an enriching experience for both parents and children, taking little ones through the basics of identifying foods, making healthy meal choices, and more! While their children learned more about the kitchen, parents explored how to incorporate the fundamentals of reading— skills like identifying symbols and building words and sentences— into everyday tasks like preparing food. For example, asking a child to find an ingredient or read a word in a recipe strengthens their foundation for future learning.

Lifelong educational achievement starts with early intervention, and LINC works to set families up for success from age 0-5. With schools like PS18R, LINC offers delightful, adaptive programming that meets young learners and their families where and when they need it most. Child by child, family by family, we foster communities where literacy is visible and valued on every level.

Participants in Cooking Up Good Readers received resources and ideas to continue nurturing the minds and taste buds of their little ones, and to turn meal time into an opportunity to learn and play!

To register for LINC’s latest programs, visit:


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