Poetry Challenge Week Four: Blackout Poems

 It’s week FOUR of the Weekly Poetry Challenge, and this week is all about blackout poems! A blackout poem is created by taking a block of text—like from a newspaper, magazine, or book—and “blacking out” everything except the words you want. Here’s a blackout poem I wrote: Created using the book MAKE BLACKOUT POETRY by John Carroll Read some black out poems! Here are some blackout poems by author Austin Kleon . Examples of student-created blackout poems . Check out this Pinterest board for more examples. Write a black out poem! When creating your blackout poem, you may to start with a pencil and circle or block around the words you want to keep for your poem. Then, once you’re happy with your poem use a sharpie to black out everything you don’t want. Blackout poetry is a great visual, but you can also type out your poem when you’re done to make it easier to read. Need a little help? Here’s a video by Austin Kleon on how he makes blackout poetry. If you or your kids write blackout poem

Welcome to Read, Discuss, Do!

When you think about story time, does your mind automatically go to the library or to the preschool classroom? Do you picture a group of kids singing songs, doing finger rhymes, and listening eagerly as an adult reads a few books centered around a certain theme? Maybe the idea of crafts comes to mind, along with an instant headache!

"No, thank you!" you may say. "I'll stick to reading to my kids at bedtime."

If that sounds anything like you, then I'm here to challenge you to think about story time in a whole new way. 

As a picture book author, one of the things I've been encouraged to do as a way to help promote my books is to come up with "extension activities" for teachers and parents. In my searches on Pinterest for "story time" I've found an abundance of boards, lists, and links dedicated to library and classroom story time ideas. I've even come across countless links to homeschool blogs. What seems to be lacking, however, is practical advice aimed at the parent or caregiver simply reading with their kids.

Much of the advice on the web that is aimed at librarians and teachers can be useful for parents reading with their children as well! But there is so much of it! Even as a self-proclaimed story time enthusiast, I can get a bit overwhelmed by all the talk about reading readiness, extension activities, and comprehension...oh my! And don't even get me started on those "100 Books and Crafts" lists out there. Who has time to sort through those, anyway?

So, when I was brainstorming ways to promote my first book, What about Moose?, I thought of a simple formula that anyone could use: Read a book. Discuss the book. Do an activity related to the book. This formula can work with any book, from board book to novel!

The primary aim of Read, Discuss, Do! is to make story time fun, simple, and accessible for anyone! To that end, many of the activity ideas you will find here and in searching #ReadDiscussDo on social media require little to no preparation or instruction and often leave the specifics open to interpretation. But you will also find some hands-on activities like art projects and recipes--all related to specific books! 

So follow along. Join the mailing list! I'm sure you'll find something that you and the young readers in your life will enjoy.

Happy reading (and discussing and doing)!