Stone Soup Language arts unit

There are many versions of Stone Soup. This unit contains six very different stories.

Stone Soup by Marcia Brown (1947); French version - Soldiers and village people Vocabulary: peasants, barley, harvest, grain, village square, cellar

Stone Soup by Heather Forest (1998); contemporary version in the mountains; recipe included story has excellent repeated phrases that can be used in the play; good book for mini-lesson on adjectives

Stone Soup by Ann McGovern (1968); Swedish version - old lady and poor traveler

Fandango Stew by David Davis (2011); Wild West version about cowpokes and a fandango bean Some Spanish words are used; may need to talk about the job of a blacksmith

Cactus Soup by Eric Kimmel (2004); Mexico version with glossary in back; may need to show pictures of cacti

Stone Soup by Jon J. Muth (2003); Chinese version with monks; vocabulary - scholar, Emperor, bean curd, cloud ear, mung beans, yams, taro root, winter melon, ginger root, soy sauce, lily buds

Below are two video versions that can be viewed instead of reading aloud.

Comprehension Activities

By reading and listening to six different versions, children can create graphic organizers for each story to identify and record the story elements such as setting, characters, problem, events and conclusion. The organizers can then be used for other activities.

The story can be retold in many different ways. Children can color and cut out props for the various characters and food. Images can be put on rocks to be manipulated during retelling. Simple food representations can be made from felt and used on a felt board to sequence items in order.

Non-Fiction books

This Stone Soup unit can be taught before Thanksgiving, weaving in the themes of kindness, sharing, compassion and generosity.


Narrative Writing Prompt: Pick a version of Stone Soup and imagine yourself being a child in the village or town. Describe the event from your perspective. Go through the writing process.

Plan: Divide the class into six groups and assign each group a version of the story. The children will work together to picture walk through the book and look for children. They will each brainstorm and make a list or graphic organizer of their thoughts about the story events.

Draft: Children will work in their writing journals to write their version of the story from a child's perspective. The focus is on content of the story. Help children get their thoughts organized using a graphic organizer when necessary. After a draft is complete, type each draft in large font, double-spaced and print. Use these for conferences.

Revise: Hold conferences with children in small groups, and have the children peer review one another's drafts. Make suggestions on content, organization and story elements. Children then work on a revised version.

Edit: Once revisions have been made, children will then go through their own writing, as well as one another's pieces, to edit for spelling, sentence fluency and grammar.

Publish: The children will write or type their final copy and create an illustration. These can be laminated and displayed for others to read, or be made into a class book.

Expository Writing: Write a recipe for making stone soup.

Opinion Writing: Which version of Stone Soup is your favorite? Give three reasons with supporting details.



Search for a soup recipe on the internet that is similar to Stone Soup. Print.

Visual Representation

Cut pictures from grocery ads to put in soup pot.
Draw ingredients in order.

Making Stone Soup: Send home information a week in advance asking for a small contribution of ingredients.

Possible items: beef broth, corn, carrots, onion, celery, potatoes, canned tomatoes, green beans, salt, pepper, flour, milk (or whatever children discover in the different versions). Also ask for contributions of crackers, bowls, spoons, juice boxes and napkins. The teacher will need to supply the crock pot. Make the soup first thing in the morning and enjoy before dismissal. Oh, and don't forget a stone!


On Stone Soup Day, assign children parts in the story. Each villager will have a cup, baggie or can of ingredients to add to the soup pot when asked by the hungry travelers. All will be expected to participate.

Have fun creating a happy memory for your children!


Created with images by Noonch - "Egg Drop Soup in a Special Bowl" • - "ji0760.JPG" • coolinsights - "Healthy home-cooked pasta soup with lots of #vegetables!" • joshuaheller - "Every vegetable soup" • ptdh - "stage curtain theater" • stux - "heart hoarfrost frost"

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