(Artwork from Marianne Richmond's Hooray for You!)
Whether you're Irish or not, writing limericks (or any form of poetry, really) is fun! A limerick is a short, funny riddle or poem that rhymes in a well-defined form. Limericks are only five lines long and because they're so short and rhythmic, they're quite easy to memorize and tons of fun to read aloud.
Since it's almost St. Patrick's Day, we thought it would be fun for you to sit down with your kids and do a little creative writing exercise to celebrate the Irish. It's very easy!
Here's what you need to know about a limerick's ingredients:
• The form consists of a stanza of just five lines.
• Lines 1, 2, and 5 share the same rhyme and are considered the longer lines.
• Lines 3 and 4 should rhyme with each other and are usually shorter.
• They have a fun storytelling rhythm that's great for reading aloud.
• They're usually silly—so be sure to encourage your child to find a good punch line!
The Art of Rhyming a Limerick:
• A limerick's rhyme scheme is AABBA. The "A's" in the rhyme scheme represent lines 1, 2, and 5, which are the lines that rhyme with one another. The "B's" in the rhyme scheme represent lines 3 and 4, which rhyme with each other.
• The number of syllables in each line vary, but lines 1, 2, and 5 have around 8 syllables with 3 that are accented and lines 3 and 4 have around 5 syllables with 2 that are accented. This forms the beat (or the fun rhythm!).
• Think of Mother Goose's old nursery rhyme as a guide for rhythm and beat:
Hickory, dickory, dock,
The mouse ran up the clock;
The clock struck one
And down he run,
Hickory, dickory, dock
Tips to Get Started:
• Brainstorm a general subject, topic, or character for your limerick.
• Make a list of fun words that rhyme and relate to your limerick's topic.
• If you don't know where to start, start with the line: "There once was…" and go on to find five more syllables. For Example, There once was a girl from Nantucket
• Encourage your child to include a simile in their limerick! A simile is a comparison between two things using the words "like" or "as."
Here are the materials you'll need to start:
• A pen, pencil, crayon—any sort of writing utensil will do!
• A piece of paper (preferably a green one, cut in the shape of a shamrock)
• An imagination!
Put Me In The Story's Limerick Examples:
| There once was a girl named Isabella |
Whose hair was as purple as that Barney fellah
Her imagination would roar
Her dreams would soar
And it was all because she'd say "My name is not Isabella"
| There once was a boy named Alexander|
Whose mind decided to take a gander
He imagined he was Thomas Edison
And then Jackie Robinson
All because he thought: "My name is not Alexander"
(Artwork from My Name Is Not Isabella by Jennifer Fosberry and Mike Litwin)
With all the mounting possibilities and opportunities for women, what a wonderful time it is to be a young girl growing up! As mothers and fathers, we'll want to nurture our girls with love and encouragement, give them our time, and make them always feel supported and safe.
Lead the way by being their role model! Be transparent—let them see your strengths and even a few of your weaknesses. They'll most likely learn to follow your example at a young age, so make sure your setting a good one!
In honor of International Women's Day, we'd like to share a few tips to help your daughters grow up with positive self-esteem and a strong sense of self-worth. So they can, one day, go on to accomplish their biggest goals and make their dreams a reality.
1. Allow her to be curious and persistent—to voice her opinion, knowing that you're listening. In fact, require that she does! Demonstrate to her what it means to be true to herself: strong in her stance and confident in her own skin.
2. Urge her to dream big, play dress up, and be imaginative. Remind her that she can be anything she wants when she grows up: a dentist, a teacher, a scientist, a doctor, an author. Don't sugarcoat any of the work it takes to become one of these figures, of course. You'll still communicate to her that it takes hard work, but explain that this is what makes the experience so rewarding.
3. As she enters school, make sure she is forming meaningful relationships with female figures in school or outside of school. It's important for young women to have mentors outside of their home, too.
4. Help your daughter focus on who she is—defined by her heart, character, abilities, self-worth, those who love her—rather than her physical appearance.
5. Show your daughter how to set and track achievable short term and long term goals. You can show her how to start small and stay grounded in what she chooses to write down, but also make sure she doesn't limit herself. However, it is important that the goals are realistic to her abilities. Be sure to revisit these goals together as often as possible!
Your daughter's self-esteem and development is the most malleable and impressionable in the first three years of her life. Use this stage of her life to really teach her how to value herself, her thoughts, her mind, her heart.
Don't be hard on yourself though! Remember that some girls develop a sense of independence with more ease than others, and this is not a reflection on your parenting. It's never too late to start teaching your daughter self-worth, whether she's two or fifteen.
Every girl needs guidance, YOUR help with discovering her talents and abilities, and your support in the careers, goals, dreams, etc. she chooses to pursue. With your time, patience, and guidance, she will grow up to be an amazing woman!
We encourage you to share scientist Marie Curie's story with your little girl today to inspire her to plan a big future and chase after her dreams! Marie Curie was the first to learn how radiation works and the first woman to win the Nobel Prize. This blurb can be found, along with other amazing women who have changed history, in Jennifer Fosberry's personalized book My Name Is Not Isabella.
Show your daughters how to dream big with the two personalized books below!
My Name is Not Isabella Personalized Book
My Name is Not Isabella takes your child on a journey through time to learn about some of the amazing women who changed history. Your daughter will go on an adventure of discovery—and find out how imagining to be these extraordinary women can teach her the importance of being her extraordinary self.
Dream Big, Little Pig! Personalized Book
Turn Kristi Yamaguchi's New York Times bestselling picture book into a personalized hardcover keepsake that your child will always cherish! This customized book will make your story time an extraordinary experience you will both remember forever.
(Artwork from Marianne Richmond's Hooray for You!)
First and foremost, it's never too early to start reading aloud to your child, or even to the bump in your belly! Reading to your little one, or simply reading together, no matter your child's age, is one of the most organic ways to bond with your child.
Furthermore, reading aloud helps develop your child's literacy skills at a young age. From vocabulary to phonics to comprehension, storytelling, and interaction with the printed word, reading books to children is a powerful tool for any parent looking to instill an early love of reading and learning!
If your child is getting ready to enter preschool or kindergarten, reading aloud together is a great preparation for this big, exciting change in his or her life. By reading books and stories aloud as often as possible, you're already introducing them to the importance of reading and getting them ready to start on their amazing journey of education.
If you have a baby or children and you're still feeling a smidge nervous to read aloud to your child (yes, it's normal!), choose books with a natural rhythm or rhyme to them. Perhaps practice when you're alone if you think it would help, and make sure you put yourself in a comfortable situation. Despite any sort of nerves you may feel, your child will be delighted and enthralled by the sound of your voice, even if you stumble over words or mispronounce a character's name. Go for it! You'll get used to it and learn to love it, we promise!
Every Parent Needs to Hear Some Positive Reinforcement…
• Babies love, love, love the sound of your voice! They also love to look at colorful pictures. Reading a book with your baby in your lap is one of the easiest, and most natural, ways to bond.
• Even if you think your child is too old to be read aloud to, think again! Reading aloud is great for older kids who are just starting to read aloud at school as well as voice their opinions in class. Take turns reading chapter books aloud, or let your child read the chapter book to you. Your child is never too old to enjoy a good book read aloud. Even though they may fight it at first, fight back and read aloud anyway!
Before You Read
• Start by turning off all distractions. This includes phones, televisions, laptops, etc.
• Find a comfortable place to read—a special rocking chair, find a seat on your favorite comfy couch or chair, or make a nest by the fireplace. Find somewhere that you can call your special reading spot.
• Commit to a routine time (morning or evening) and do your best to fit in reading aloud whenever possible. Reading aloud for at least 15 minutes each day will really make a positive difference in your child's development, as well as enhance their willingness to learn and read as they grow.
• Before you start reading the book you or your child has picked out, ask your child what they think the book is about. Show them the cover, read about the author, and look at some of the pictures together. Let them observe the book's details before you start. Compare your hypotheses once you've finished the story!
While You Read
• Get into your reading character. Use the book's cues to dress up or dress down your voice as appropriate. It's important for your child to hear you reading with changes in your voice and at a varying pace.
• Remember to use the correct tone, volume, and animation as you see fit. Incorporate sounds if you feel so inclined! There's no reason to hold back! Read with confidence and expression! Reading in a funny, intense, or loud voice to accommodate the tone of the book will really help your child get into the story, and they'll love it!
• Make sure you read slowly enough so your child can still soak the story in and have enough time to process the pictures and artwork.
• Let your child hold the book and/or turn the pages. Urge your child to point out pictures they like or things they find interesting in the illustrations or words.
• Encourage your children to ask about the characters, pictures, or words. Or, if they're reluctant, ask them questions about the story. Take the time to discuss the story afterward by asking your child about certain parts of the books, especially if there is a prominent lesson or powerful message (in most cases there is!).
After You Read
• If you have time, scan the book before you and your child get together to read and see if you can find connections to your family's personal experiences. You can then discuss them after you've finish the story!
• If you end up reading a story your child is particularly familiar with or it's already one of their favorites, challenge your child to tell you the story and praise them for their retelling!
Reading stories aloud is such a productive and happy way to enjoy books on a personal level together. Happy World Read Aloud Day!
Recommended Reads to Light the Way in Celebration of World Read Aloud Day! Find Below a Few of Our Personalized Books with Repetition and Rhyme:
Isn't it amazing that we can still recite the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Three Little Pigs, or even Cinderella, years after they were told to us? Telling or reading fairy tales to children helps them grasp the meaning behind a story and relate to its moral or message. Sometimes a particular fairy tale speaks to a child directly and resonates with them deeply without them even realizing it!
Kids are constantly trying to figure out where they fit in and to discover who they want to be. Halloween is the perfect holiday for your children to practice and experiment with these different explorations.
As parents, we can be skeptical about Halloween because it revolves around excessive candy consumption with the occasional instance of tricking instead of treating. However, Halloween enables children to experiment with different forms of expression in a safe environment—an environment where everyone is dressing up and pretending to be someone or something new and creative.
Celebrate Halloween as an adventure into your child's self-expression!
Here's what we mean…
• If your child wants to be a zombie, a ghost, a vampire, or some sort of creepy-masked creature, perhaps this is a good way for him to face some of the things he's scared of and gain more confidence by becoming one of these creatures himself. Plus, the creepy mask is only for one night.
• Dressing up as a ballerina, a queen, or a fairy allows your child to admire these figures—whether they're real or not. Pretending to be one of these characters can foster an appreciation for a dancer's artistic expression or a queen's royalty and leadership role, and pretending to be a magical fairy stimulates and nurtures the imagination. Overall, putting on a crown or a tutu invites your little girl to dream of royalty and magic. It's likely that one day she'll realize that she'd rather be a lawyer or a painter instead of a fairy anyway.
• Wanting to zoom around your neighborhood as a superhero (i.e. the popular Batman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman, or any others) encourages your child to tap into their own inner hero. They start to wonder how they can help make the neighborhood a safer place like Batman. They learn to connect to Spiderman, a relatable teenager who becomes a superhero. By putting on a cape or a mask, your child will probably be inspired to do some good too.
Surely children will continue to anticipate trick-or-treating with family or friends, but Halloween is also about inspiring kids to exercise their creativity and imagination, by getting crafty with costume ideas, while aspiring to dress up and become someone with qualities they admire.
Wearing a costume can let a child express him or herself while also being comforted by the fact that he or she is only dressing up as a character or creature temporarily. Pretending to be someone or something is a freeing experience, especially when you know that the costumes, masks, and makeup come off at the end of the night.