Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead book cover

“A little more fun, a little more love, a little more light every night. That’s the joy of Hanukkah.” —Unknown

As the season of candles, dreidels, and miracles approaches, it’s a great moment to pass on a delicious Hanukkah tradition to the next generation, all while giving kids the gift of reading. That’s why we’ve put together an easy latke recipe for kids, specially designed so they can read the instructions themselves, though they may need a little help from their grownups around the stove.

Just print out the PDF of the recipe (or bring it up on a screen large enough for easy reading), then let the fun begin. Your child will get to practice reading while spending quality time with you celebrating the Festival of Lights.

Note that this recipe involves frying your potato pancakes over a hot stove, so grownups should take the lead on that part. Before you get started, make sure you have a clean dish towel, grater, and child-safe knife or chopping tool on hand, as well as a bowl, frying pan, and tongs or spatula.

Our Read with Me Recipe series features printable recipes that are easy for kids to make and read. Simple words and short sentences in an easy font set your little one up for reading success. (Scroll down for tips on reading recipes together and maximizing the learning.) The idea is to make it easy for you to mix reading and writing into everyday life with your kids. This kind of “everyday literacy” is key to raising thriving readers.

Tips for teaching kids to read with this recipe:

  • Introduce your child to how recipes work. If you’re not sure they know them already, be sure to explain vocabulary like “ingredients” and other cooking terms, such as “grate” in this recipe. One of the biggest challenges for beginning readers—and most important underpinnings of literacy—is just knowing and understanding the vocabulary they’ll encounter in books.
  • Watch out for specific words in the recipe they may not be familiar with, and give a simple definition.
  • Keep an eye out for tricky-to-read words, such as “oil” and “onions.” Point out letter combinations that might be new or less familiar to your child.
  • For little ones who aren’t reading much yet, just pointing out what you’re reading and emphasizing a few key words or letters is enough. If you make the recipe again, you can help them find the words you pointed out before.
  • Use this as an opportunity to show them punctuation, as well as words and letters. Point to the commas, periods, or other punctuation marks, and explain what they mean. 
  • If they can’t read the recipe on their own, give them chances for success by asking them about what they do know, gently underscoring key knowledge. E.g., ask, Can you find the letter P? or How many words do you see that start with O?
  • For kids who are reading already, encourage them to read the recipe themselves. If they have trouble, just calmly help them with any words they can’t quite get. E.g., if they have trouble with the word “pancake,” try covering “cake” and helping them read just the first part of the word before you uncover the rest.
  • Bring your patience. Give your child space to read a word (or identify a letter) before you jump in, but be prepared to help if they’re showing signs of frustration.

Browse our other Read with Me Recipes.

Easy Recipe for Kids: Latke Potato Pancakes

  • 5 Potatoes
  • ½ Onion
  • 1 Egg
  • Salt
  • Oil
  • Applesauce
  • Sour cream