Happy St. Patrick's Day from Put Me In The Story! Write a limerick or two in celebration of the Irish! We'll show you how...
(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"