The more you read,
The more you know.
The more you know,
The smarter you grow.
The smarter you grow,
The stronger your voice,
When speaking your mind
or making your choice.
Keep a Poem in Your Pocket
Keep a poem in your pocket
and a picture in your head
and you'll never feel lonely
at night when you're in bed.
The little poem will sing to you.
The little picture it brings to you
A dozen dreams to dance to you
At night when your in bed.
Keep a picture in your pocket
And a poem in your head
And you'll never feel lonely
At night when your in bed.
Beatrice Schenkde Regniers
Rhyme and meter are inherent qualities of our language development. I've yet to see a child not remember a poem or simple limerick. It's second nature for us to remember language that adheres to a rhythm, and that's probably why poetry is our oldest art form, even predating literacy.
You can use poetry to teach children how to read, spell, and remember important information. We sing in verse. Children love poetry. Over the next week and a half, we are talking poetry . And while we use poetry in all of our lessons, I wanted to give you this set of activities to use with your kids at home (or in the classroom). We will be building our own poetry collection as we go along and after the lesson is completed, we will continue write more poetry in the book throughout the year.
I'll make this short and sweet. Alphabetizing words is an important skill for us to learn. It teaches us about systems and mind coordination...all of which we can break later as adults when we see fit. But for now, I recommend teaching alphabetization as you teach the ABC song.
After all, that is the point of the ABC song, right? Order. I have included a free download of two worksheets that play with ABC order. The children do not need to know how to read in order to learn categorization. This is about figuring out what comes first, next and last.
You can use the worksheet to plan a combo lesson that includes math, reading, writing and science! How?
Here are my ideas:
Download the File
Books and Supplies
As a part of our literature curriculum, we are memorizing a poem every week. You would be amazed how easily children can memorize things. The key is to have the children work at the poem 2-3 times per day. This week we are learning Robert Frost's The Pasture.
I'm going out to clean the pasture spring;
I'll only stop to rake the leaves away
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
I sha'n't be gone long.—You come too.
I'm going out to fetch the little calf
That's standing by the mother. It's so young,
It totters when she licks it with her tongue.
I sha'n't be gone long.—You come too.
I've had many students email me, asking for more literature-based posts, and because I love literature and write lit/history curriculum for a living, I have decided to oblige you all. In fact, if you all really love it so much, I am going to create several ebook study guides for the most popular literature taught at the high school and university level. But first, let's see how popular this post is. If you like it, then I will make more of them.
This is a sample of a curriculum lesson that I wrote awhile back. It is on the Themes of The Iliad. I hope it helps you out with whatever you are studying.
Homer’s epic poem the Iliad track the conflict of the Trojan War in its final year. The Trojan War was a conflict between the Achaeans and the city of Troy. The fight begins when Helen returns to Troy with Priam’s son Paris. To get her back, Achaean King Menelaus takes his army to Troy. Themes such as love and friendship, fate and free will, and honor arise throughout the poem.
Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November;
February has twenty-eight alone,
All the rest have thirty-one,
Excepting leap year, that's the time
When February's days are twenty-nine.
Use this little poem to teach your children about the months that have thirty days. It was originally written by Mother Goose.
This week, we are learning the following poem by William Blake:
Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?
And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!
When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
Poetry is a great way to teach phonics skills. I will do my best to post a poem a week that fosters reading skills. I also believe that reading poetry everyday is a great way to teach rhythm and meter.
For children who are writing, you could ask your child to copy this poem into a notebook. This teaches both reading and writing skills.
Also, consider having your child make his.her own poem each day.
A Book Speaks
When you drop me on the floor
I get stepped on - my sides are sore;
Torn-out pages make me groan;
I feel dizzy if I'm thrown;
Every mark and every stain
On my covers gives me pain;
Please don't bend me, if you do
I don't want to talk to you;
But we will both be friends together,
If you protect me from the weather
And keep me clean so that I look
A tidy, neat and happy book.
It's no lie that many American children are not read to enough and are struggling to achieve literacy every single day. As more parents become addicted to their cell phones, or worse, give their child a smartphone to stare into every time they need to focus( you do know a child will behave if you lay out the expectations and stick to them, don't you? Not only that, a child MUST learn how to behave in the world, and putting them in front of a distraction device doesn't teach them that at all...and since you're reading my blog, I'll assume you aren't that parent). Children need their parents to read to them. AND they need their parents to show them how to read. It takes as little as 15 minutes a day.
To celebrate literacy, Dr. Seuss Day lands on March 2nd of every year. You should take this day to throw yourself and your children into the beautiful words of Dr. Seuss. Here is an activity. You can find more HERE.
Ever find yourself finishing a lengthy chapter only to discover that you can’t remember anything that you’ve just read? Reading for retention, is more than just getting from the beginning of a chapter to the end. Effective reading is all about attention and focus. It gives the mind time to absorb the material. But how does one do that? Use these two reading strategies, metacognition and active reading, kids (and adults) can teach themselves to become effective readers.
Metacognition is a reading strategy that allows the reader to take control over their reading by thinking through the text. This strategy requires the reader to think about the text before, during, and after.
How It Works
Prior to reading, the reader clarifies the purpose for the reading the material. I a kid is reading a biology chapter about genetics, she may write down that she is reading the chapter to better understand meiosis and gene inheritance. I suggest having a reading notebook for every subject, and for every chapter read, a page should be used to write down the purpose of reading the chapter (or book if a child is very young).
Monitoring comprehension while reading through the text is a major component of metacognition. The reader marks difficult passages in the notebook or directly onto the text. For example, if a concept in the text doesn’t make sense, the reader may jot down, “I don’t understand the concept on page nine” in his notes. At this point, the reader should either reread the concept and attempt to make sense of it, or go back to it after completing the rest of the material.
Upon completion of the text, the reader checks her understanding of the text. During this stage, the reader needs to identify what was difficult to understand and work to understand the author's intention. It is important that the reader understand that chapter before moving any further.
Active reading uses several reading strategies to help readers gain as much understanding of the text as possible. Students should always have a pen and notebook handy. Active reading expects the reader to engage with the text fully. Active reading requires a quiet study space to be effective.
How It Works
Learning New Vocabulary
The reader writes down and looks up the definitions of unknown words or concepts in the material.
Take Effective Notes
Ask questions and take notes.
Rather than highlighting important material make comments, notes, and asking questions in a notebook. Don't forget to jot down the page number. Notes can be fragments or summaries of the reading.
Readers should use the headings within the text as the organizational structure for their notes.
See it Young Padawan
For added understanding, active readers should create outlines, diagrams, and flow charts to connect concepts. Think mind mapping...
At the end of an essay or chapter, students write a one-page summary with several examples to show that they understand the material. It works.
Stanzas:Stanzas are lines grouped together and broken up by an empty line from other stanzas. One way to identify a stanza is to count the number of lines:
Alliteration:The repetition of initial sounds on the same line or stanza - Big boring Bob bumped bravely.
Assonance:The repetition of vowel sounds. The famous How Now Brown Cow
Consonance: The repetition of consonant sounds. For example, " And all the air a solemn stillness holds. "(T. Gray)
Onomatopoeia: Words that sound like that which they describe - Whoosh! Snap!Boom! Crash! Pow! Quack! Moo! Caress...
Parallel Structure:A form of repetition where the order of verbs and nouns is repeated; it may involve exact words, but it more importantly repeats sentence structure - "I came, I saw, I conquered".
Simile:The rhetorical device used to designate resemblances. Most similes are introduced by "like" or "as." These comparisons are usually between dissimilar situations or objects that have something in common, such as "My love is like a red, red rose."
Metaphor:A metaphor leaves out "like" or "as" and implies a direct comparison between objects or situations. "All flesh is grass."
Synecdoche:A form of metaphor, which in mentioning an important (and attached) part signifies the whole (e.g. "hands" for labor).
Metonymy:A form of metaphor allowing an object associated (but unattached) with an object or situation to stand in for the thing itself (e.g. the crown or throne for a king or the bench for the judicial system).
Symbol:Similar to a simile or metaphor with the first term left out. "My love is like a red, red rose" is a simile. If, through persistent identification of the rose with the beloved woman, we may come to associate the rose with her and her particular virtues. The rose would becomes a symbol.
Allegory:Can be defined as a one-to-one relationship between abstract ideas and images presented in the form of a narrative. For example, George Orwell's Animal Farm is an extended allegory.
Personification:Occurs when you treat abstractions or inanimate objects as human.
Note: You may think your young child cannot grasp the bigger elements here, but I guarantee that they can. If that means you need to stretch each element out over a week, then you should do that. Learning poetry will build critical thinking skills and build upon the imagination.
I have a unicorn lover living in my house, and to foster that love, I created a unit of folklore and mythology. By reading about unicorns, she can increase her reading comprehension skills, math skills, and understanding of the world.
I have included resources to help you create a wonderful unit on unicorns and myth. This can be part of your language arts lesson plan for the year.
List of Resources to Build Your Lesson Plan:
Mark Twain Biography for Kids
Phonics sounds are a key component to reading. Before you start teaching your child how to read, make sure that they know all of the long and short vowel sounds. Here I have provided a printable worksheet and a youtube video for the long A sound.
The books on these lists are not a joke. Yes, there are some "big" books on this list, but the point is that you are the one reading them to the child, and not the other way around. The key here is to expose children to beautiful prose and poems, and form a lifelong bond with them at the same time. Not only that, but reading to children helps them acquire literacy naturally.
Make it a habit. Choose a regular time each day to read the books.