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Archive for the ‘Writing Challenges’ Category

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How Reading Rewires Your Brain


Don’t miss this post from M.C. Tuggle... Bette A. Stevens, Maine author http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Excerpt: “In the United States — yes, the United States — 1 out of 4 children grow up without learning to read. That’s intolerable. Want to do your part to make the world a better and happier place? Read, and do what you can to help others read. ”

M.C. Tuggle, Writer

Reading

There is no doubt in my mind that modern society traps its subjects in an unhealthy and unsuitable environment. That stark realization motivates many of my stories (see here and here, for example). The most disturbing symptom of how toxic our culture has become is the increasingly acerbic mutual distrust evident in current politics. Little wonder so many feel depressed, powerless, and alienated.

Rather than utilizing technology to better our lives, we let it rule us. Distracted by smart phones, buffeted by inescapable sensory overload, and hobbling our discourse in 140-character outbursts at each other, we’re incapable of understanding our own inner selves, much less that of others.

Fortunately, the tonic for the condition we find ourselves in is close at hand — if only we would use it, as this eye-opening piece in big think proclaims:

Research shows that reading not only helps with fluid intelligence, but with…

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Write a Summer Limerick & Get the Kids Writing Too!


HAVE FUN WRITING LIMERICKS

Monarch Butterfly LIMERICK 2 bas 2017

Summertime is fun time! And with ‘back to school’ just around the corner, it’s a great time to write limericks and get the kids writing too…

Whether you’re a writer, a reader, a teacher, a parent or simply want to share the love of reading and writing, get the kids together and give “Limericks” a try. You’ll be glad you did!

Some of my favorite things about summer are butterflies, long lazy summer days, gardens and sunshine. I love to sit on the porch with my camera at the ready just in case I spot an amazing monarch or any of our sensational butterfly friends dropping by to enjoy the view. So far this year I’ve spotted twelve monarchs and dozens of other butterflies too—and managed to capture several of these exquisite creatures with my Canon “PowerShot.”

Butterflies are very sensitive to the environment and with their natural habitat areas being increasingly eroded and with significantly greater use of chemicals, our butterfly population is in decline. Planting and cultivating milkweed (Monarch caterpillars need milkweed) and other blooms that our pollinators need for survival is one way that I can help.

Limerick (poetic definition)

[lim-er-ik]
noun
1. a kind of humorous verse of five lines, in which the first, second, and fifth lines rhyme with each other, and the third and fourth lines, which are shorter, form a rhymed couplet.

 

My limerick is about one of the monarch butterflies (captured by my camera) that fluttered through my garden so far this summer. I had fun writing two verses to tell my monarch’s story. Check out the link at the end of the post to find out more about poetic limericks.

A Monarch Butterfly Limerick

by Bette A. Stevens

There once was a monarch so fair

She fluttered and flit through the air

’Twas milkweed she needed

And so she proceeded

To search through the garden with care

 

Monarch  knew she had nothing to fear

Her flutters would soon disappear

When milkweed she spotted

Her heart was besotted

Depositing monarch eggs there

 

WRITING POETRY WITH CHILDREN

Tips & Tools

When teaching (grades 4-8), I found that writing poems and sharing them was an exciting way get children of all ages hooked on writing. I must admit it—limericks are so much fun to write and to share! In the classroom we learn about using some of the tools in our writer’s tool box—literary devices like assonance (repeating vowel sounds) and consonance (repeating consonant sounds) to create a musical message. And of course, we had Scholastic rhyming dictionaries and thesauruses close at hand. It’s always exciting to discover alternative words (synonyms) that have just the right sounds and syllables to perfect our poems.

Whether you’re a writer, a reader, a teacher, a parent or simply want to share the love of reading and writing, get the kids together and give it a try. You’ll be glad you did!

 

Click the link to find out all about it How to Write a Limerick http://www.poetry4kids.com/blog/lessons/how-to-write-a-limerick/

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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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2017 WRITING CONTEST: Tales2Inspire Celebrates Sixth Year


Get ready to share your story

winner-tales2inspire

 

“So much more than a contest

Lois W. Stern announces the opening of Tales2Inspire’s sixth yearwith a great little contest for those with an inspiring story to share. But it is so much more than a contest, as winning authors get tons of publicity to help them on their paths to discovery. Free to enter—NO FEES involved.

Stories must be true, with one or more relevant photos submitted to enhance the impact of the story. All details posted at: www.tales2inspire.com/contest, so please refer to this link before you begin.

And since a picture is worth 10,000 words, while you’re there, grab a F*R*E*E e-book sampler of inspiring stories written by previous winners, and now published in one of the six Tales2Inspire® collections

~ Lois W. Stern
Creator of Tales2Inspire ‘Authors Helping Authors’ Project/Contest

Get the NEW Tales2Inspire E-book 6 Inspiring Stories – FREE 
Available formats for KINDLE (Mobi) OR NOOK (e-pub)
FREE e-book sampler www.tales2inspire.com/gift
Your reviews are most appreciated.

    Lois’s links:

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Have Fun Writing Haiku & Get the Kids Writing Too!


Write a Halloween Haiku & Get the Kids Writing Too!

black-cat-halloween-haiku-bas-2016Midnight—my fabulous furry feline—inspired me to write BLACK CAT, a Halloween haiku (Haiku: a Japanese-inspired three-line: 5-7-5 syllable poetry form) and design a poster to go with the poem. Kids love illustrating their poetry.

What’s inspiring you this Halloween?
Brainstorm your list and get writing.
Have fun—don’t forget to get the kids writing too!

Here are some writer’s tricks (literary devices found in every writer’s toolbox) I used to create BLACK CAT. These tools can set a mood— they make writing and reading memorable and fun.  Check them out and see if you can discover where I used them in my poem.

Read on to find out more about these literary devices.

Black cat waits, watches…
Stalking tricksters in their web.
Spiders are her treats!

Three Writer’s Tricks (Literary devices) used in writing poetry and prose

Assonance
Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in nearby words.

Consonance
Another literary device used by writers and poets is consonance. It is the repetition of the final consonant sounds, usually in the more important words or in the accented syllables.

Alliteration
You put your alliteration tool to work when words that start with the same sound are used close together in a phrase or sentence. The sound is usually a consonant and the words don’t have to always be right next to one another.

Finding “just the right words”
Abundant resources are available in print as well as through online searches. Listed below are the two resources I had readily available in the classroom for my students (Grades 4-8). Paperbacks are inexpensive enough to have multiple copies available, and in my opinion, they are indispensable.

  • The Scholastic Rhyming Dictionary by Sue Young
  • Webster’s Thesaurus for Students by Merriam-Webster

                        Happy Writing and Reading Haiku

                                    & Happy Halloween!

                     ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

 

  • Find out more about how to write haiku and other poetry at Reference.Com

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Aside

Write an Autumn Haiku!


Autumnal Ensigns (a haiku by Bette A. Stevens)

Photo and Haiku by Bette A. Stevens Autumn’s vibrant display of colors never fails to inspire and writing Haiku (a Japanese-inspired three-line: 5-7-5 syllable poetry form) is one of my favorite ways to capture nature’s stories. Haikus are usually written about nature. Here’s what I came up with this week. What’s inspiring you this autumn? ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

Happy Haiku Writing!

  • Find out more about how to write haiku and other poetry at Reference.Com

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Aside

Write a Limerick!


SPIDER Limerick 3 BAS 2016

 Write a limerick?

Why not! I thought it would be fun to share a limerick this week and invite you to write one too. Mine is about me and a spider.

When teaching (grades 4-8), I found that starting a new school year by writing poems and sharing them was an exciting way get students hooked on writing. I must admit it—limericks are so much fun! In the classroom we learn about using some of the tools in our writer’s tool box—tools like assonance (repeating vowel sounds) and consonance (repeating consonant sounds) to create a musical message. And of course, we had Scholastic rhyming dictionaries and thesauruses close at hand. It’s always exciting to discover alternative words (synonyms) that have just the right sounds and syllables to perfect our poems.

Whether you’re a teacher, a parent or simply want to share the love of reading and writing, get the kids together and give it a try. Read on to discover what inspired me to write my spider limerick and have lots of fun writing and reading with the kids!

Click the link to find out all about it How to Write a Limerick http://www.poetry4kids.com/blog/lessons/how-to-write-a-limerick/

More about Bette’s Spider Limerick

Before I wrote this limerick, I had been watching several spiders weave their webs on the outside screens of our back porch all during the spring and summer. Spiders are fascinating creatures to watch from a safe distance. But, up close and personal they frighten me. The photo for the limerick was taken by me (safely inside the screen). Nature and my own human nature inspired me to write this one:

There once was a tall timid writer
Who spotted an intrepid spider
She jumped up and screamed
Then she suddenly beamed
“Why, I’ll write a fine book about spiders!”

~ Bette A. Stevens

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