Previously, I've written about Cava's struggles with reading comprehension. One of the suggestions I read about was providing cultural context for him, so when I was in a local Goodwill and came across a beautiful copy of Russian Fairy Tales, I snatched it up. This week, for his daily reading assignment for school, Cava has picked a different fairy tale to read from this book.
First, he chose "Masha and the Bear." It's no shock he would choose this one since he loves the cartoons. As he read the tale, he kept telling me, "This is not like the cartoon at all!"
The next day, he chose the tale of "Kolobok." This fairy tale is the Russian equivalent of "The Gingerbread Man," in which a childless old couple make a kolobok or traditional Russian / Ukrainian pie or small bread. The kolobok becomes alive and escapes the babushka and dedushka's home and rolls out into the world where it encounters different animals who long to eat it. He escapes each time by rolling away and singing a song about how he escaped from grandfather and grandmother and will now escape from the hare, wolf, and bear. Finally, the kolobok comes upon a crafty fox who out tricks the kolobok by pretending to be hard of hearing and asks the kolobok to hop up first onto his nose and then onto his tongue and sing the song louder so he can hear it. Of course, the fox gobbles up the kolobok and so ends the tale. The kolobok,unlike the gingerbread man, does not escape.
After reading this tale, Cava told me, "Can we make one?"
"Sure," I replied and went online to look up a recipe for kolobok. Once I found a recipe, Cava and I set to work making it.
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
.5 cup of sour cream
We mixed all those ingredients together until we got a thick batter.
While he was stirring, I put oil in our electric fry pan and let it heat to around 300 degrees. Then we scooped the mix out with teaspoons and dropped them into the oil.
"Smells good," Cava kept telling me. When the kolobok was finally a golden brown, I took them out and offered the boys a choice of toppings: powdered sugar, powdered chocolate, honey, or jam. Both chose the powdered chocolate.
And quicker than the fox, they set to gobbling the kolobok up. Ours didn't have a chance of rolling out of our house.
And what was Cava's verdict on this treat?
An enthusiastic "thumbs up" followed by a mouthful of, "Can I have some more?"
This was definitely homework we enjoyed not only reading but eating.!
Here's the tale animated in Russian: