Make reading aloud more rewarding for the whole family.
By Chrysta Naron
My Daddy knows most everything
When his powers are unfurled,
And I’m not scared of anything—
My Daddy rules the world.
— Hope Anita Smith
This poem from Hope Anita Smith’s book, My Daddy Rules the World: Poems About Fathers, reminds us of how fathers or father figures can make a child’s world a better place. In this activity, we’ll draw on our love for them and our love for reading to make a wonderful gift—a Father’s Day acrostic poem!
“What is an acrostic poem?” you might ask. An acrostic poem is a poem that uses each letter in a word to begin a new line that describes or relates to the original word. For example, here’s such a poem for the word sun:
Shines all day
Up in the sky
No one brighter
Acrostic poems make great gifts because they’re so specific to the person who receives them. No two are alike, even if two people write about the same person! A personalized poem is so much better than a store-bought card. They’re also fun and simple to come up with (no rhymes required!), so they’re perfectly suited to make free, easy Father’s Day cards with preschoolers.
From a reading and writing point of view, they’re also a great literacy-building activity—children have to rely upon their alphabetic knowledge to think of words that begin with each letter, as well as practicing handwriting and spelling. It’s a good chance to break out a children’s dictionary, too! To add an extra literacy element, you can make your Father’s Day card part of a story time activity, beginning by reading Poems About Fathers together with your child.
- Markers or crayons, etc.
- My Daddy Rules the World: Poems About Fathers by Hope Anita Smith (optional)
Cost: Free! (Look for the book in your local library if you want to incorporate story time with your craft.)
Step 1 (optional): Cozy up with your child and read My Daddy Rules the World: Poems About Fathers by Hope Anita Smith.
Step 2: Talk about the things your child’s father (or uncle, grandpa, or other important masculine figure that you’re celebrating) does for your child and the family. Discuss ways they spend time together, or their father’s likes and dislikes. This will inspire your little one in writing their poem.
Step 3: Take a piece of paper and fold it in half, making a card. On the inside, have your child write their father’s name vertically down the side of the paper. This can be the name they call their father (e.g., Dad, Papa, etc.) or their father’s actual name. If your child is very young, you can write the letters for them or have them trace the letters. For older children, let them write the letters independently.
Step 4: Have your child think of qualities of their dad’s that begin with each letter, and write them down on the page (as shown in the pictures). Help your child identify the sound of the letters and brainstorm words that begin with them as examples. This is an important opportunity to reinforce their knowledge of letter sounds.
For younger children, you can write the words for them. For older children, help with spelling only if they ask. Otherwise, let them sound the words out, and remember that the process is what’s important. Mistakes are how we learn. If the outcome has some misspelled words, that’s okay! It shows they made the card themselves.
Step 5: Let your child decorate the card!
This Father’s Day acrostic poem is free, easy, and (most importantly) super special! Just like Dad. As a fun tradition, you can have your child make a new one every year and see the changes that happen as they grow.
What do you love most about the father figures in your life? Share with us!
Chrysta Naron is an early childhood educator and curriculum specialist in Austin, Texas, who believes everything is better with glitter! Read more from her at www.playfulprek.com.
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