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Sharing April—Poetry and Autism Awareness Month


April is National Autism Awareness Month, and National Poetry Month.

The Autism Society has been celebrating National Autism Awareness Month in the United States since the 1970s. It creates a special opportunity to highlight the growing need for concern and awareness about autism. The seventh annual World Autism Awareness Day was celebrated on April 2, 2014.

To find out more about autism, visit the Mayo Clinic website.

Here are some other websites about autism that I found interesting and helpful.

Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew from the book by Ellen Notbohm.

For some tips on helping children with autism, go to HelpGuide.org.

And because it’s also poetry month, click here to read some poetry written by teachers, siblings, moms, and people with autism at the Autism Speaks Website.

To tie Poetry month and Autism Awareness month together, I wanted to write my own poem about autism. I found that it was not so easy! But here it is:

Today!

Today
was a good day—I
rode the school bus,
didn’t fight
got my spelling words
all right
drew a castle
and a king
at recess got my
favorite swing
shared my race cars
fed the ducks
counted night stars
counted trucks
ate my dinner
played with brother
did my homework
hugged my mother…


Yesterday
was different—I
scowled when teacher
called my name
threw the pieces
from the game
cried ‘cause my friend
wasn’t there—
wouldn’t talk and
kicked my chair
pushed in line and
ran ahead
went outside to
play instead
groaned and pushed when
brother bugged me
didn’t move when
mother hugged me…

But TODAY
was a good day!

copyright Peggy Archer 2014
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Poem in Your Pocket Day!


Today is Poem in Your Pocket Day! On this day people in the United States select a poem, carry it with them and share it with others throughout the day. It’s not too late to join the fun!

What poem will you choose to share? Will it be one that you enjoyed as a child? A nursery rhyme? Something that you discovered as an adult? Will it be funny, romantic, or something to make you think? Maybe it will be one that a friend wrote, or that you wrote yourself. Or maybe you wrote an original poem, just for today!

How will you share it? Will you sneak your poem into someone’s lunch box, or into their coat pocket or under their pillow? You can pass a copy to friends that you see during the day. Be sure to have plenty of copies in your pocket! Maybe you’ll decide to hang a poem up on a public bulletin board. You can share on facebook or on your website. If you tweet, you can share by using the hashtag #pocketpoem.

Throughout history, poems have been stowed in pockets in a variety of ways, from the commonplace books of the Renaissance to the pocket-sized publications for Army soldiers in World War II.

Poem in Your Pocket day got its start in New York City. In 2002, the Office of the Mayor, in partnership with the New York City Departments of Cultural Affairs and Education, initiated Poem in Your Pocket Day as part of the city's National Poetry Month celebration.

In 2008, the Academy of American Poets took the initiative national, encouraging individuals around the country to join in and channel their inner bard.

If you’re looking for a poem to share, or for some ideas on how to celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day, visit the Poets.org website.

Then check out Reading Rockets where you’ll find videos of poets reading poetry, and other ideas for celebrating National Poetry month.

For some fun links to poetry for children, visit Jump into a Book.

My poem for today:

Fishing for a Bite

“I’m tired of worms,”
said the fish in the lake.
“I’d rather have
some chocolate cake,
a piece of cheese,
or, I suppose,
some ankles, knees,
or dirty toes!
So if you want
to get a bite,
just cast your legs
in the lake tonight!”

c Peggy Archer (not for use without permission of author)

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RhyPiBoMO Blogpost—Are You Naturally Musical?


My Guest Author blog post is up on Angie Karcher’s RhyPiBoMo—Rhyming Picture Book Month! I decided to blog about the Lesson for the Day, Are You Naturally Musical? Music and rhyming poetry have a lot in common. Click the link to read my blog post.

Today’s lesson is accompanied by a video on the same topic. Take today’s challenge to “Prove Them Wrong!” when someone says that you can’t. You can learn to feel the rhythm in music and in your words. “It just takes practice, a never-give-up attitude and the desire to learn.”

If you haven’t been keeping up with the guest blogs, go back to Saturday, April 12th. Read Jane Yolen’s post, where she talks about poets as ‘code masters.’ Read the lesson on ‘syllables,’ and read Jane’s ‘Five Tips on Writing a Poem.’ Then write your own poem from the Writing Prompt.

Read some ‘Rhyme Writing Advice’ from Deborah Diesen, author of THE POUT-POUT FIST, which I read to my grandson recently, and we both loved! Then take the Word Stress quiz.

There’s a new blogger every day, with a new lesson, and writing prompt. Check out the calendar of Guest Bloggers. To find the archives list, scroll to the bottom of any post. You can also find a specific blog post by typing the date of the blog – comma- guest blogger’s name in the search field, in the upper right corner.

Become a RhyPiBoMo participant and win some awesome prizes. There are still 2 ½ days left to register! Participants can comment on a blog post to win weekly prizes. Congratulations to Laura Rackham, winner of an autographed copy of my picture book, NAME THAT DOG! Participants can also enter the Golden Quill Poetry Contest. Contest deadline is April 25th, midnight central time. Don't forget to follow the fun on facebook, too.

Are you naturally musical? Does it matter? With practice, you can learn! Happy rhyming!  Read More 
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Celebrate Spring with Poetry!


The weather was beautiful here yesterday. My husband and I went to the Botanical Gardens in St. Louis, and after a winter that just won’t quit it was like stepping into spring! There was a Daffodil Show indoors sponsored by the Greater St. Louis Daffodil Society, but outside daffodils and other spring blooms were everywhere! I didn’t realize that there are nearly 700 different varieties of daffodils! Inspired, I wrote this short poem—

Daffy-dils
Laffy-dils
Usher in the springtime,
Fill my yard with sunshine—
Daffodils!

On the bottom of one of the posters at the show was a poem called “Daffodils” by William Wordsworth. It begins this way:


I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze….

Don’t stop here! A Child’s Garden of Poetry, presented by the Poetry Foundation, features a video of the poem, DAFFODILS, read by David Matthews on their website. Listening to the poem, and watching the short video, I could just imagine myself ‘dancing with the daffodils!’ A child’s Garden of Poetry also has two other videos that feature readings of poems.

As U.S. Children's Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis said in a recent interview, "Poetry should be read out loud even if you are all alone in a room. Readers should want their ears to have as much fun as their mouths are having."

Here are a few more places to watch videos of children’s poetry being read out loud.

J. Patrick Lewis can be found reading his poem, “Chromosomes” at Scholastic.

Go to Ken Nesbitt’s website, Poetry4Kids.com, where you can hear and watch some of his funny poems for children, including “My Teacher Calls Me Sweetie Cakes,” and “I Taught My Cat to Clean My Room.”

On the pbs website, Reading Between the Lions, you can listen to even more poems for children on video.

Hear Renee LaTulippe, children’s author, read her poem Jake the Snake!

Listen to some poems by Ted Scheu and hear a little about what inspired them.

Enjoy childrens' poetry this month by listening to some poems being read out loud. Go a step further, and read some of your own favorite poems out loud. But better yet, celebrate spring by writing a poem of your own. Read it out loud to your family. It will tickle your ears and your tongue as well!
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