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Write a Haiku & Get the Kids Writing Too!


Let nature inspire you…

Our rock garden at the Farmstead is singing. The columbine were so glorious this season they inspired me to write “The Choral Debut,”  a haiku (Japanese-inspired, non-rhyming three-line: 5-7-5 syllable poem). I hope The Choral Debut inspires you to get outdoors and let nature sing its songs to you. 

The Choral Debut

HAIKU by Bette A. Stevens

Rising with the sun

Pristine perennials join

The choral début

I enjoy designing  posters to go with my poems and often use photos I have taken. As a former teacher (now retired) in grades four through eight, I’ve learned that kids of all ages love writing poetry and like me, they enjoy illustrating their poems too. It’s simple and it’s so much fun to tell a story in the three short lines of Haiku. Of course, you can write as many stanzas as you wish. I invite you to give it a try. In fact, I’m working on a Maine haiku collection that sings of the seasons. 

Don’t be shy. Grab a pen and paper, get outdoors, get inspired…and get the kids writing haiku too!

~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

(Haiku: m)

haiku

noun hai·ku \ˈhī-(ˌ)kü\

plural

haiku

  1. :  an unrhymed verse form of Japanese origin having three lines containing usually five, seven, and five syllables respectively; also :  a poem in this form usually having a seasonal reference — compare tanka

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Inspiring Kids of All Ages—One Book at a Time—#GetCaughtReading


“The love of reading is a lynchpin for successful learning—for success in life. Kids learn to read best when adults take time to share their passion for books with them.” ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author.

One of the best ways to inspire kids to love to read is by reading aloud to them and talking with them about the books you share. We can all make a difference in the lives of the children around us when we #GetCaughtReading with the kids!

Benefits of Reading Aloud to Children of all ages

  • Expands vocabulary as they hear new words in context
  • Provides contextual examples for grammar and sentence structure that everyday conversation does not offer
  • Strengthens reading comprehension
  • Increases a child’s attention span
  • Teaches life skills associated with story themes and characters
  • Fosters family/generational/community communication.

Research has shown that children who come to school with a large vocabulary achieve more in school than those that have little familiarity with a wide range of words. Children are great listeners and imitators—they pay attention to what they hear. Reading aloud and discussing books with children is crucial to successful learning. Before children are reading on their own, a crucial part of their learning is based on imitating what they hear and observe.

Children are able to listen and comprehend content read to them two years above their actual reading level. Reading comprehension doesn’t catch up to a child’s listening comprehension level until eighth grade. When listening to adults read stories above their current reading level, a child’s vocabulary increases. This also provides an opportunity for listeners hear complete and complex sentence structure that is not offered in everyday conversation.

Children of all ages love to be read to by adults who are excited about books and reading. In fact, avid adult readers are walking, talking advertisements for books as they share their love of the written word with listeners. And, children enjoy talking about books with adults as much as the adults enjoy talking with them. When readers and listeners discuss characters and themes, their lives are enriched and family/generational communication skills are strengthened. A child’s story comprehension skills increase significantly as well. Reading aloud to children creates a win-win experience for everyone.

Where are the children?

In the U.S. alone there are about 15 million children living in families with incomes below the federal poverty threshold—many of these children do not have books in their homes or adults who are available to read to them.

Where are these children? We’ll find them in homes, schools and libraries in villages, towns and cities in our own communities and across the globe. Local libraries and elementary schools are pleased to hear from those of us who are looking for the opportunity to share our love of reading with those who need it most—children of all ages, from all walks of life. Together we can change the world—one reader, one book, one book talk—one child or group of children at a time.

“So it is with children who learn to read fluently and well: They begin to take flight into whole new worlds as effortlessly as young birds take to the sky.” ~William James

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of five. Stevens lives in Central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies—an endangered species (and for milkweed, the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat).

Stevens is the author of AMAZING MATILDA, an award-winning picture book (Ages 5-11); The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too!, a home/school resource incorporating hands-on math, science and writing (Ages 6-12); and PURE TRASH (Ages 10-Adult), the short story prequel to her début novel, DOG BONE SOUP (Ages 12-Adult)—coming-of-age story and family drama set in 1950s and 60s New England.

 

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Write a Spring Haiku & Get the Kids Writing Too!


Celebrate National Poetry Month!

Countdown Commences (Spring Haiku) by Bette A. Stevens

Happy April and Happy National Poetry Month. Snow pack is still in meltdown stage here at the farmstead in Central Maine, but spring blooms will soon be appearing. Johnny-jump-ups (like the ones I photographed on the poster) are sure to be among the first blooms of the season. They’re one of those hardy native plants that bloom in abundance and pop up everywhere from early spring until the first hard freeze the next fall—hence the title and last line of the poem. This photo of last year’s blooms inspired me to write countdown Commences,  a spring haiku (Japanese-inspired, non-rhyming three-line: 5-7-5 syllable poem).

Countdown Commences

Haiku by Bette A. Stevens

Enchanting blossoms
Springtide emerging from earth
Countdown commences

I love designing  posters to go with my poems and often use photos I have taken. As a former teacher (now retired) in grades four through eight, I know that kids of all ages love writing poetry and they enjoy illustrating their poems too. It’s simple and it’s so much fun to tell a story in the three short lines of Haiku. Of course, you can write as many stanzas as you wish. Give it a try! 

Grab the kids, take out your pens, head into the great outdoors and get inspired!

~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

(Haiku: m)

haiku

noun hai·ku \ˈhī-(ˌ)kü\

  1. :  an unrhymed verse form of Japanese origin having three lines containing usually five, seven, and five syllables respectively; also :  a poem in this form usually having a seasonal reference — compare tanka

 

Discover more about how to write haiku and other poetry

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Write a Spring Haiku & Get the Kids Writing Too!


Celebrating International Haiku Poetry Day!

As I wandered out into the garden with my trusty camera early this morning, much to my surprise, an icy blanket at the edge of the rock garden had melted and a family of opening jonquils greeted me with their smiles. Being the first blooms of the season, they simply made my day and inspired me to write “A Spring Concerto,”  a haiku (Japanese-inspired, non-rhyming three-line: 5-7-5 syllable poem).

A Spring Concerto
HAIKU by Bette A. Stevens

Jonquils awaken

Shaking their heads in wonder

A spring concerto

Personally, I love designing  posters to go with my poems and often use photos I have taken. As a former teacher (now retired) in grades four through eight, I know that kids of all ages love writing poetry and they enjoy illustrating their poems too. It’s simple and it’s so much fun to tell a story in the three short lines of Haiku. Of course, you can write as many stanzas as you wish. Today’s a perfect day for you to give it a try.

Get out your pen, get outdoors in nature, get inspired…and get the kids writing haiku too!

~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

(Haiku: m)

haiku

noun hai·ku \ˈhī-(ˌ)kü\

plural

haiku

  1. :  an unrhymed verse form of Japanese origin having three lines containing usually five, seven, and five syllables respectively; also :  a poem in this form usually having a seasonal reference — compare tanka

 

Discover more about how to write haiku and other poetry:

Find out more about International Haiku Poetry Day

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POVERTY & PREJUDICE: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow


Author BAS White Text

POVERTY & PREJUDICE: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

You’re invited to read my blog post on Is History The Agreed Upon Lie?

As a baby boomer that grew up in an average middle-class family in America during the 1950s and 1960s, poverty was not something I had to dwell on or even think about as a child or as a teen. For me, poverty was an unknown concept.

Poverty in America during the 1950s and 1960s was simply ignored in our wealth-burgeoning society. I was not alone in my ignorance. “[In fact, it’s been more than 50 years] since Americans, or at least the non-poor among them, ‘discovered’ poverty, thanks to Michael Harringtton’s engaging book The Other America.” (Twisting the Phrase “Culture of Poverty” Barbara Ehrenreich March 16, 2012).  Read it all at… POVERTY & PREJUDICE: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

I look forward to hearing from you.

Bette A. Stevens http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Let’s Paint the World with Peace!


September 21, 2013 marks the United Nations’ 33rd International Day of Peace

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=706&picture=paintings&large=1

“WORLD PEACE? We really do have the power to make it happen, one brush stroke at a time. “ ~ Bette A. Stevens

World Peace?

Knowledge of the past holds one of the keys to world peace. Knowledge of the people in the world around us today holds another essential key.  However, knowledge in and of itself is useless, a collection of unused paint brushes resting on the world’s shelf. It is our job to pick up those brushes and start painting. The perfect portrait of peace begins within each one of us. It’s painted one brush stroke at a time. Here are some simple steps that we can all take to contribute to that portrait:

Take the time to learn about those who are different from us in some way. We may want start with someone in our own family. Even there, we often find differences in opinions, race, religion, beliefs, customs, cultures, political affiliations. The list of personal differences and the diversity of relationships goes on….

Working in the classroom as a teacher of students from diverse backgrounds, I learned first-hand that those who hold different beliefs from my own are all unique individuals with whom I have many things in common. We all share the same needs and desires, the same frustrations and fears, the same hopes and dreams.  Whether students, parents, staff, volunteers, administrators or colleagues, I have gained respect for and have been deeply enriched by each encounter. Life-long relationships are nurtured and continue to blossom and grow.

Sure, that all sounds great; but what can we actually do as individuals to promote peace?

  • Listen to others
  • Get to know them (That means spending time with them) Let them get to know us (talk)
  • Respect differences
  • Look for commonalities
  • Nurture relationships
  • Offer and extend a helping hand
  • Encourage others
  • Enlist the help of others
  • Give input and feedback
  • Keep the conversation going 
International Peace Day Logo. jpg

International Peace Day Logo. jpg

The brush strokes to peace lie within each of one us. How do we paint the canvas? One brush stroke at a time. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS—listen, share ourselves and our ideas, respect those of others, look for commonalities. Our individual and collective lives will continue to be enriched as we work together to paint a portrait of world peace. We really do have the power to make it happen, one brush stroke at a time.

On September 21st, I’ll be interviewing M.C.V. Egan, author of The Bridge of Deaths. She’ll be sharing how she uses her novel to promote world peace. You’re invited to stop back and visit us here at http://www.4writersandreaders.com for MEET THE AUTHOR: M.C.V. Egan and join her PEACE IN TIME Book Blitz and Blog Hop.

Peace be with you.

JOIN THE PEACE BLITZ!


Painting the World with the Brush Strokes of  Peace

by Bette A. Stevens

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15th commemorates the 73rd anniversary of the crash of the G-AESY, an English passenger plane from British Airways Ltd that crashed in Danish waters just two weeks before Hitler invaded Poland and the world was at the brink of war. M. C. V. Egan’s latest novel, The Bridge of Deathshttp://thebridgeofdeaths.com/ takes the reader to well-know and little known events leading up to the Second World War, both in Europe and America. As Bill, a young executive, travels today’s information highway, his journey through knowledge and time help him discover the real story of this 1939 plane crash. Both a mystery and a love story, Egan’s novel takes readers on a journey to uncover doubts left by the 1939 investigation into the incident. The Bridge of Deaths’ message that knowledge is the key to peace as a way to prevent war may give today’s readers insight into unlocking the secrets to peace for our own generation.

I wholeheartedly believe that knowledge of the past holds one of the keys to peace. Knowledge of the people in the world around us today holds the other essential key.  However, knowledge in and of itself is useless, a collection of unused paint brushes resting on the world’s shelf. We must pick up those brushes and start painting. The perfect portrait of peace begins within each one of us. It’s painted one brush stroke at a time. Here are some simple steps that we can all take to contribute to that portrait:

 Take the time to learn about those who are different than us. Perhaps we could start with someone in our own family (opinions, race, religion, beliefs, customs, cultures, political affiliations, the list goes on…):

  • Listen to others
  • Get to know them
  • Let them get to know us
  • Respect differences
  • Look for commonalities
  • Nurture relationships
  • Offer and extend a helping hand
  • Encourage others
  • Enlist the help of others
  • Give input and feedback
  • Keep the conversation going

Working in the classroom as a teacher of students from diverse backgrounds, I learned first-hand that those who hold different beliefs from my own are all unique individuals with whom I have many things in common. We all share the same needs and desires, the same frustrations and fears, the same hopes and dreams.  Whether students, parents, staff, volunteers, administrators or colleagues, I have gained respect for and have been deeply enriched by each encounter. Life-long relationships have been nourished and continue to blossom. The brush strokes to peace lie within each of us. How do we paint the canvas? One brush stroke at a time. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS: Listen, share ourselves and our ideas, respect those of others, look for commonalities. Our individual and collective lives will continue to be enriched as we work together to paint that perfect portrait of peace!

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