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“When the Frost Is on the Punkin”
Volume 85, Program 4
9/25/2008
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“When the frost is on the punkin”—it’s time to read great literature! Fall has inspired generations of poets and storytellers—why not let it inspire your student? On today’s Home School Heartbeat, hear tips from HSLDA President Mike Smith to enliven your autumn English program.

Mike Smith:
Fall provides a perfect opportunity to explore the works of many regional poets and storytellers. Do you remember learning James Whitcomb Riley’s poem When the frost is on the punkin as a child? Your children will delight in the rich dialect and colorful images of that fall favorite!

From John Keats’ Ode to Autumn to Robert Frost’s poems celebrating New England fall, explore the poetry of the season with your children. You might check your library for poetry magazines and journals, which often contain topical or seasonal poems.

The rhythms and rhymes of poetry appeal to children of all ages, so even if your child can’t read yet, he’ll enjoy hearing you or your older students read fall poems aloud to him.

Once your older students have read some fall poetry, consider having them analyze the form of the poem. Guides to the rules and patterns of poetry are available online, in literature textbooks, or in books at your library on how to write poetry. Finally, have your student write her own autumn poem.

You may also enjoy reading aloud favorite short stories of autumn, such as Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and seasonal selections from longer works, like the Little House on the Prairie books.

There are many classic autumn picture books for your youngest learners, including Ox-cart Man; Hello, Harvest Moon; and Reeve Lindbergh’s Johnny Appleseed.

Have fun reading together! And until next time, I’m Mike Smith.


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