TRC Read to Kids

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Rhyme Time!

Celebrate National Poetry Month during the month of April! Poetry ‘s emphasis on sound, rhythm, rhyme, repetition and imagery can help create a rich early language environment that can enhance a child’s future reading skills and pleasure. And poems and poetic books are naturally interactive, making for a delightful read-aloud experience.

To model the interaction, you might first read a page or two of the book, practice the refrain, rhyming words, or movement with your listeners, and then do an expressive, interactive read of the whole book.


I Love You as Much by Laura Krauss Melmed, illustrated by Henri Sorensen. Encourage little ones to repeat the soothing refrain and find the animal mother and baby on every page.

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. Stop reading and ask youngsters to wiggle their fingers and toes whenever those body parts are mentioned. The babies pictured are from all over the globe, widening the young listener’s world and modeling inclusion.

ages 3 to 8

King of the Zoo by Erica Perl, illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic. This giggle-worthy walk on the wild side gives kids a chance to repeat rhymes and a lively refrain. At the end, ask about their favorite animal in the book and brainstorm missing animals. Have them choose an animal king (or queen) for their own zoo and draw a picture of that animal.

Jo MacDonald Had a Garden by Mary Quattlebaum, illustrated by Laura Bryant. Sing this new version of an old favorite, do the movements modeled in the pictures, and find the cardinal on every page. Point out the changing seasons and do some of the activities in the back, including demonstrating the six parts of a plant.

A Leaf Can Be by Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Violeta Dabija. Encourage youngsters to point out how leaves are used in the pictures and name some other ways that leaves might be used. Bring different kinds of leaves and let kids each choose one to touch, smell, and learn about. Why are leaves important?

Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle, illustrated by Jill McElmurry. Ask kids to chime in with the animal and truck sounds. At the end, talk about how Little Blue Truck and the animals worked together. Why did they work together?

Over in the Forest by Marianne Berkes, illustrated by Jill Dubin. Count the animals, find their tracks, and repeat the rhyming words. Have children act out the repeated movement of each animal (build, graze, rap).

age 9 and up

In the Spin of Things by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, illustrations by Karen Dugan. Read a poem or two and ask kids to name the sounds and motions. As a group, choose something (fire truck, cake mixer, toaster, etc.) not in this collection and have each child name a sound or action associated with that thing to create a group poem.

To receive credit for this online training, please fill out the form here.

This post was written for TRC by Mary Quattlebaum. Mary has written numerous picture books, novels and collections of poetry for children. She also teaches creative writing and writes frequently for the Washington Post and other publications.