Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Reading and Writing Poetry

Sir Walter Scotts Marmion;
I'm a little sad to say goodbye to April and poetry month.
Poetry fits so well with my boy's interests and needs. I wish
people talked about poetry all the time.
My boy will read anything poetic (as opposed
to checking which page chapters begin and end)
including Sir Walter Scott's Marmion (recommended for
middle schoolers to high schoolers who will read anything
that rhymes). Asked for favorite poets he cites Walter Dean
Myers and Robert Louis Stevenson.
We Are America: A Tribute from the Heart
Another aspect of his love for poetry is that although he
does not usually want to write (unless he's writing his own
version of a story that was written "wrong") 
he will write poetry at the tiniest of prompts. 
He especially likes the haiku and tanka 
forms where you count syllables.
The end of April does bring Nashville the special needs
storytime at Green Hills Library, 10:30 am.
This group is going strong. Everyone is
enjoying the chance to hear stories in a
relaxed and comfortable setting.
Rain falls forever down
go out get wet or stay in
find a book to read
-spectrum mom 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Poetic Tangents

The Blues of Flats Brown
In Love that Dog, the poet Walter Dean Myers appears as 
a character. Since my son liked the book and the poems, I
looked for more by Myers but found he's better known as
an award winning children's books author.
Most of his books offer too many challenges for my son,
the biggest being too few illustrations to support the story.
So I turned to his picture books and found two, one of which
my son and I liked quite a bit.
Flats Brown, talented blues playing dog, must stay one
jump ahead of his mean owner A. J. Grubbs. The story
resonates with the message that everyone needs a 
little love.
What my son liked were the song titles.
When I asked him about the book, that's what he
reeled off: "The Bent-Tail Blues," "The Mangy
Muzzle Stomp," and his and Flat's favorite,
"The Freaky Flea Blues."
Also, he remembered and liked that Myers put a
whole song in the back "The New York City Blues."
Alliteration, music, lyrics, all appeal to him.
Last night I found him reading one of his old 
picture books:
Nobody's Diggier Than a Dog
When I asked him his favorite part, he said "The -iers.
Diggier, Waggier, Flappier."
Myers book is much more sophisticated in narrative,
but both books should appeal to readers who like dogs
and/or playfully poetic prose.
-Spectrum Mom

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Let's All Bake a Sunshine Cake - Autism Awareness & Poetry Month

Be Glad Your Nose Is on Your Face: And Other Poems: Some of the Best of Jack Prelutsky

Since my oldest boy rhymed almost from his first 
words, I'm convinced that his brain is wired for
poetry. In fact, this is my fourth entry about
poetry because rhythm and rhyme engage kids so
well (see especially 2/26/10 & 8/23/10 for book lists
and a poetry website) and because I believe many
children with autism find poetry a joy and comfort
to read.
No children's poet so reliably rhymes and brings
on the goof like Children's Poet Laureate 
Jack Prelutsky. The mammoth collection,
Be Glad Your Nose is On Your Face collects
poems on many different subjects with child pleasing
grossness along with  bright lively illustrations. You
can even get  Be Glad Your Nose Is on Your Face: And Other Poems [With CD] [BE GLAD YOUR NOSE IS ON Y-W/CD]
(yes, that's a link to Amazon, I thought for once an 
overt link might be useful).
The CD lets your kid follow along while you get 
something else done. 
I asked my son what his favorite poetry book
was and to my surprise he said Love that Dog
(3/30/11). His most read poetry volume is from
the teacher's section at a book fair - A Poem A Day.
A Poem a Day (Grades K-3)
Wherever you go you may rhyme
with metaphor coarse or sublime
just get into the habit,
you'll find like a rabbit,
you're doing it all of the time.
-Spectrum Mom

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Remembering Lenny and Mel

Lenny and Mel Amazon doesn't have a picture for After-School Confidential
Trying to understand what my son understands when he
reads can be as frustrating for me as many of my questions
about the story are for him. We read another installment
in Kraft’s superlatively silly enfants terrible 
(be sure to pronounce that in French)
Lenny & Mel saga last week.
I thought we both enjoyed and understood the story.
But perhaps a week is a very long time when you are
going to school and studying for standardized tests.
For today when I asked him about it, he wanted to talk about
“confidential” which he thought meant “hall.”  I defined confidential
as secret, and asked him to write what he remembered of
the story. 
He wrote:
“Lenny and Mel: After-School Confidential
I remember that confidential means “secret.””
I threw a small fit. “Don’t you remember anything about
the story?”
Finally I set a timer for three minutes and told him to write whatever
he wanted, but if he didn’t remember something, he would need to 
look at the book until he did.
He wrote this (unedited by either of us) :
“Lenny and Mel had a poetry contest one day.
There came a cool d,adio who was fond of poetry.
He can say stuff like “Yo man!”, and “Cool man!”
Lenny was trying to dream while Mel was around.
That Lenny and Mel story ended the next day after the dream.”
After-School Confidential describes how Lenny and Mel 
“investigate” after school clubs for the school newspaper.
The short chapters, goofy pictures, and general silliness
make this an ideal choice for struggling readers. But -
if that struggling reader is my son he apparently can/will 
ignore the entire framework of the story to focus on 
the elements that interest him: poetry and dreams.
He thinks I share his dreams. Kids with autism frequently 
think you know what they know (theory of mind). If only
I did .  .  .
-Specrum Mom