Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Captivate Children with Stories that Include Poetry

Guest Post by Thomas Weck

Young children can learn so much from reading their favorite books with a loved one. They learn by listening and participating in a way that actively encourages their imagination. If a child sees reading as a fun activity from the start, he will usually enjoy reading as he gets older.

The use of simple poetry can bring a story alive in a way that an “only prose” story cannot.

A repetitive poetic refrain can captivate. A child will often take “ownership” of a short verse and want to be the one who “reads” it.

The clever use of fonts (different size letters, color and shape) also can enhance a child’s enjoyment of the story (with a request for a re-read the next storytime or bedtime).

Anything from making flashcards to acting out the new words can be fun ways for children to learn and remember the new vocabulary. Searching for synonyms and antonyms in the poem can be turned into a fun scavenger hunt. For example, draw attention to an unusual or new word and talk about words with similar or opposite meanings. See how many words the child can find that she doesn’t know and do the same thing. It can be fun to search for nouns, adjectives, and verbs in the child’s favorite poems as well.

In my newest children’s book, The Labyrinth, I incorporate a small verse that is repeated five times at key points in the story. This delights children.

“Oh, Mean Ol’ Bean,
How he did scheme.
To be rid of the Queen,
That was his dream.”

For young children, the rhyming and natural rhythm draws them into a story. Adults get caught up in the fun of it as well. Who doesn’t still remember, “red fish, blue fish, one fish, two fish,” or “a person’s a person no matter how small”? Seuss and many other wonderful authors offer children so much. So, join in the fun and find books to read that include poetry and rhymes.

About the Author and the Lima Bear Stories

Thomas Weck is the creator and co-author -- with his son Peter -- of the Lima Bear Stories. Originally made-up bedtime stories he told his four children, the Lima Bear tales resurfaced when Weck’s son Peter had children. Peter remembered the stories and wanted to have his father write them down so that he could share them with his children. Father and son took it one step further and created Lima Bear Press to produce the stories as books that children everywhere can enjoy. The first three titles in this award-winning series were released in 2011: The Megasaurus, How Back-Back Got His Name, and The Cave Monster. The Labyrinth will be released in August 2012. The books are not only fun and funny, with great illustrations, but they also have an underlying message such as tolerance, honesty, courage, forgiveness, etc. Additionally, each book has an extended Learning and Activity section at the end where children can become active participants in the story experience. Learn more at LimaBearPress.com.



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