Wombat Stew - teaching demonstration

The educator uses interactive read-aloud strategies while sharing the text Wombat Stew.

In this video, the educator uses dialogic reading (interactive read aloud) strategies while sharing the text Wombat stew.

The text is then linked to a hands-on play experience, where children create their own concoction of Wombat Stew, and recall their favourite parts of the story.

Watch on Vimeo: Wombat Stew (opens in new window)(opens in a new window)

Reflective practice


The way the educator:

  • provides opportunities for children to share their ideas and make meaning from the text
  • asks inferential and predicting questions to engage children’s emergent reading comprehension
  • uses sound effects, characterisation, and body movements to bring the story to life.

The examples of child directed and guided play and learning in this experience.

Reflection questions

  • What are the features of Wombat Stew that make it a powerful text for highlighting literacy (phonological awareness, concepts of print) and language, and engaging children in play?
  • What are some similar texts that would work well for this kind of experience?
  • What aspects of characterisation, gestures, and other dramatic elements do you use when reading with children?
  • How does the educator engage children in discussion about the text during the play experience?
  • What learning did you observe? How do you know?
  • In discussion with colleagues, what do you plan to do next to consolidate or extend this learning?

Learning experience plan

This learning experience plan relates to:

  • integrated language and literacy experience
  • early language users Start of deleted contenEnd of added content(18 - 36 months)
  • learning focus/foci: stories and narratives, making meaning and expressing ideas (interacting with others), concepts of print
  • teaching practice(s): reading with children, play.

Outcome 4: learning

Children transfer and adapt what they have learnt from one context to another by:

  • transferring knowledge from one setting to another.

Outcome 5: communication

Children engage with a range of texts and get meaning from these texts:

  • view and listen to printed, visual and multimedia texts
  • respond with relevant gestures, actions, comments and/or questions.

Children express ideas and make meaning using a range of media:

  • share the stories and symbols of their own cultures and re-enact well-known stories.

Victorian curriculum levels F-2: Literature

  • Share feelings and thoughts about the events and characters in texts.
  • Listen to and respond orally to texts and to the communication of others in informal and structured classroom situations using interaction skills, including listening, while others speak.

Learning intentions

  • Developing children’s ability to make meaning from the story.
  • Encouraging children to participate in a shared play experience to re-enact parts of the story.

Assessment of learning

This is demonstrated when children:

  • ask questions and make comments about the meanings they are making from the text
  • take part in the stew-making part of the experience, recalling aspects of the story in their play.


  • Wombat Stew by Marcia Vaughan and Pamela Lofts
  • Natural materials (sticks, leaves, mud, gumnuts, gathered with children)
  • Large tub or bucket
  • Hose or watering can, filled with water.

Group size

Medium (if appropriate) or small group (2-5 children).

Experience process

Introduce and provide a context for the text - Wombat Stew:

  • talk about the title, front cover, author and illustrator.
  • invite children to wonder what the story will be about, or recall what they remember about the story (if they have seen this text before).

Engage in dialogic reading (interactive read aloud strategies) to help children to make meaning from the text. Use characterisation, gestures, and facial expressions to bring the story to life.

Where relevant highlight aspects of emergent literacy (Concepts of Print, when pointing to the elongated and enlarged font used for the Dingo’s scream).

After the book reading, gather the natural materials with the children from the outside area (or a pre-prepared collection).

Work together to create a wombat stew in the tub/bucket, using the materials, water, allowing children to take turns participating in various parts of the process.

Take opportunities to chant/sing aspects of the story, or encourage children to remember their favourite parts, or engage in sociodramatic play as one of the characters.

Going further

This can be extended by revisiting the story in writing, fine arts, or constructive/sociodramatic play experiences, or by recreating this experience using a different text as the stimulus.

Additional and alternate resources

This experience can be adapted to be based on the following texts:

  • Possum Magic by Mem Fox
  • Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French
  • Wombat Stew Cookbook by Marcia Vaughan and Pamela Lofts
  • How The Birds Got Their Colours told by Mary Albert and compiled by Pamela Lofts.


Experience plans