A Gift for Life

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A Gift For Life

To every mother and father,

and gran and grandpa, too.

Here’s an important message

that’s meant just for you.


If you want the child in

your life to get ahead.

You need to expand his mind.

You need to feed what’s in his head.


Read aloud to your child

every day of your life.

Read stories about anything,

even those that are fantastic and wild.


You’ll build his vocabulary.

Help him to think.

He’ll be able to visualise

and become very wise.


As readers are leaders,

help him become one, too.

Let him learn of this.

Let him learn of that.


Start reading him a story.

Begin right now.

Go adventuring.

Go exploring.

One word at a time.

Whether it’s prose,

or whether it’s rhyme,

you’ll give him a gift for a lifetime.


PS. I didn’t mean to offend.
I truly did not.

Don’t think of me as a beast

as this doesn’t come least:

If your child is a girl,

of course you’ll read just

as much to her, too.

 ©  Andrew Pender-Smith


















 

 

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Rhyming Answers Game

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Rhyming Answers Game

A little lateral thinking can go a long way to encourage the mind to come up with new ideas. The ‘Rhyming Answers Game’ is a fun way to keep thinking fresh. I have used this with students of dramatic arts and English. The game always proves lively and entertaining, and it definitely enhances their abilities as thinkers and communicators.

In essence, they are asked to answer a question in rhyme. It may be one they come up with themselves or one that is given to them. Here are two examples:

Q. Do you like insects?

Answer

No, not really.

They have too many

Spindly legs and when

They move, I think they look

Mad and scary.

Q. Would you love to go to outer space?

Answer

 I think it would be amazing.

I would fly through the Milky Way

And do close-up star gazing.

I’d do flick-flacks all along

Jupiter’s glowing ring

And sing a rock song

I’d float way above every moon

And shout down to Earth ‘’I love

It up here so I won’t be coming back

Any time soon.

………………………………..

That’s it for now. Thank you for reading.       

As per usual, ‘’Happy Creating’’.

Andrew Pender-Smith

Please note: I first came across this game in a book called Party Games for Children by Mary Vivian.

 

 

A Matter of Perception – Play Time! (Part Two)

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In this second experiment in which prose is turned to poetry, I have used a headline and the first few sentences of a newspaper article.

Brazen Armed Robbery

 Just before closing yesterday, a group of armed men stormed a grocery store and held up the manager and staff at gunpoint. A few terrified shoppers managed to run for cover as shots volleyed through the store.

 Just before closing yesterday, a group of armed men stormed a grocery store and held up the manager and staff at gunpoint. A few terrified shoppers managed to run for cover as shots volleyed through the store.

Brazen Armed Robbery

Just before closing yesterday,

a group of armed men

stormed a grocery store

and held up the manager

and staff at gunpoint.

A few terrified shoppers

managed to

run for cover

as shots

volleyed

through the store.

Which one is more likely to impact on a reader? The two poems that resulted from the prose passages ( See ‘Part One’ for the first.) are not great works of poetry, but hopefully help to illustrate the idea that writers need to be playful explorers if they wish to sharpen the skills required to become a successful communicator.

Happy writing.

Andrew Pender-Smith

 

A Matter of Perception – Play Time! (Part One)

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QUESTION: When do we perceive what we are reading as poetry and when do see consider it to be prose? First look at the following:

Leopards on the Loose

Two leopards escaped from the local zoo today by climbing up a tree that had fallen into their enclosure. It is believed they climbed up the uprooted tree and jumped down from there. One was darted and recaptured. The other is still on the loose. Residents are requested to stay alert. (A short newspaper article.)

Leopards on the Loose

Two leopards escaped

from the local zoo today

by climbing up

a tree that had

fallen

into their enclosure.

It is believed they

climbed up the

uprooted trunk and

jumped

down

from there.

One was darted

and recaptured.

The other is still

on the loose.

Residents are requested to

stay alert.

‘’The eyes see only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.’’ is a useful quote by author Robertson Davies with which to start.  In the context of this discussion it is perhaps more accurate to say the eyes see the way the mind has been trained to perceive. I am limiting this discussion to matters of layout concerning writing and reading when it comes to thoughts and feelings typed or written onto a page. Broadly put, if a writer uses literary conventions pertaining to prose when placing information on a page, it is read as prose. Should a writer employ one of the genres open to poets (lyric, sonnet, narrative, epic, elegy, ballad, haiku), the reader will talk of having read a poem. I have deliberately kept this discussion brief. There is a lot one can find online regarding the inter-workings of the eye, ear and brain. What I am most keen on is encouraging writers to work at putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and getting them to play around; to experiment and explore. Start with turning prose to poetry and then poetry to prose. Then extend this by working within either one and ask how readers are likely to perceive your work if, for example, you alter sentence, paragraph and chapter lengths or use different fonts and page formats. What, if any, paradigm shifts are likely to occur when a form of presentation is altered? See it as a game. You’re likely to have more fun that way. Keep writing and reading.

Andrew Pender-Smith        

Note: Another prose-to-poetry experiment will be posted in a day or two.

 

Building Readership Starts Here (Part Two)

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Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. Joseph Addison

The first part of this discussion was published on the 26th of June 2017.

How you can help: Donate books to schools, libraries, families and individuals. CD’s, DVD’S and even computers, laptops and iPads are also welcome donations when institutions cannot afford them.  I know of individuals and service clubs who pay for internet connection in instances when schools and children’s homes cannot afford it.

Read and tell stories to young children with whom you are in contact. Sing to them and teach them songs. Include actions when possible. Volunteers at children’s homes, hospitals and under-privileged schools are most often greatly welcomed. Readership, which mean a love of stories and learning through them, starts from the youngest of ages and it includes YOU.

When doing all of these, make sure the material is appropriate to age and ability.

As this is a blog posting and full discussion is limited by constraints of space, only an outline of benefits and how to help have been included. There is a great deal available online or through discussion with teachers (especially teachers of Speech and Drama and those involved in early learning phase education), with whom you can discuss further. Hopefully you can all come up with ideas on how to develop literacy in your community or one which desperately needs it. Some of your future readers might come from the very children you have helped. You might even be tempted to write stories for these young audiences and, in so doing, find a whole new market for your writing. Older children can be encouraged to write and illustrate stories and poems of their own. You might even make copies and place them in other classrooms and school libraries. Children often love reading stories and poems written by other children. 

Have fun inculcating and building a culture of reading and writing in the young. It will benefit others, and you.

 Andrew Pender-Smith

https://www.amazon.com/author/andrewpendersmith

Never Too Old

 

 

 

Building Readership Starts Here. (Part One)

 

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If we want readers, we need to grow the base from the beginning. This beginning starts with very early childhood, and includes infants.

When you read to a child, when you put a book in a child’s hands, you are bringing that child news of the infinitely varied nature of life. You are an awakener. Paula Fox

Aim: To encouraging listening, thinking, observation, participation, imagination, empathy and speaking through reading and storytelling.

I read many blogs and books designed to help writers improve their craft and help market their work. We also need to be proactive about developing readers and, more particularly, developing them from a very young age. This comes through reading to children, sharing and discussing pictures with them, and encouraging them to observe, interact with, and question their environment and all within it. I regularly meet children who live in towns and cities with access to a library or resource centre who are never encouraged to visit it. I also encounter children whose parents do not read to them. In terms of cognitive and emotional development this is really setting a child up for failure.

In areas where books are scant or non-existent, parents should be encouraged to tell stories to their children. These could be imaginative tales or of a biographical or autobiographical nature. When it comes to the latter two examples, this helps keep family history alive while children’s listening and language skills are improved. Once children are able to draw and paint, they can create illustrations of the stories they have heard. Singing songs together is also a great way of enhancing confidence and communication. It is even better if some action is included.  If parents and children do have access to books, it is still important to tell stories and sing songs. In other words, the more activities you include, the better.

Andrew Pender-Smith

Part two follows in a day or two. 

Dance Lightly

 

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South Africa, like so many places on earth, is facing decimation of its flora and fauna at a horrendous rate. The need to protect what we have left has never been greater. ‘Dance Lightly’ is this poet’s plea to do just that.

Dance Lightly

Dance lightly upon this earth
because it is not yours.
Take radiant wing with a butterfly.
Listen to the tiniest hum of the bees.
Pause during the rush and grab of life
to hear a frog and a chirruping cricket.
Let snakes live in slow, slithering peace.

Know where fish swim and clean waters flow.
Understand the sea and all that lives within.
Fly high with migrating birds and
look about with empathy.
Watch closely the sunning insect and the
travelling spider.

Join the song of the cicada and the
hop-sing-flight of every bird, and
smile knowingly.
Touch the new moon and savour
the true value of the sun.
Then share the joy of the insider.
Teach others not to stamp and bulldoze.
Be a sharp hawk against pollution.
Laugh with the wind and run with arms
outstretched along the wildest of rivers.
Dive deep into the cool pool below a
cascading waterfall.

Teach all of Nature to those who do not understand.
Be part of the drive that helps our planet thrive
so that you can say:‘’Do you see?
Do you now truly see why it is best to
dance lightly?’’
                       © Andrew Pender-Smith

cool pool
 

De Green Monkee Speaks

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De Green Monkee Speaks

Pssssst! So babee,

you wanna know about

de green monkee?

You see me here.

You see me dere

when I swing frum

tree to tree

wid great agility.

When I’m eating de fruits,

or swimming in de jungle pools,

I’m tinking, tinking, tinking

because I got de hobbies

like dancing, writing, singing.

One big day I might be

de world’s most famous

dancing, writing, singing monkee,

but for now I chill, my brudder,

an enjoy de monkee beer

an eat de forest fruits, mon,

because life is cool, mon,

an slowly, slowly

I’m swinging, lazy, lazy

in dis forest tree.

© Andrew Pender-Smith and Sebastian de Vervet

Teachers and students are free to use this poem on the condition that the author is acknowledged.

De Green Monkee Speaks Again

I been tinking, tinking about

dis career business.

I don won anyone tinking I’m

just no swing-about.

Even when I’m drinking de best in

monkee beer,

my mind, my bro, is agile.

It’s workin’ absolutely clear.

If dis dancing, writing, singing business

is not de ting for me,

I’ll study a course in

monkee philosophy,

because my mind can jump from here

an’ my mind can jump from dere.

I dink I’ll run for president

or maybe monkee king.

Now it’s time for more beer, mon,

while I do my clever, clever tinking.

© Andrew Pender-Smith and Sebastian de Vervet

Teachers and students are free to use this poem on the condition that the author is acknowledged.

The Green Monkey is the brains, when he’s not drinking too much monkey beer and swinging from fruit tree to fruit tree, behind ‘Green Monkey Publications’. He’s the one who keeps a sharp lookout on its two authors, Andrew Pender-Smith and Craig Carden, to make sure they aren’t in the least bit slack and keep on writing.  His full name is Sebastian de Vervet but he is simply called ‘Sabs’ by friends and family. The top shows Sebastian as a baby with his parents.

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This photo is of Sebastian’s uncle, Uncle Herbert de Vervet.

A ‘High Five’ for Drama

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A ‘High Five’ for Drama

A ‘High Five’ for drama for every child in every school. I have taught, written about, and adjudicated drama in schools for long enough to know that there really is no greater teaching tool for helping children become well-rounded, confident adults.  See earlier posts for more of what I have said on the subject and to obtain poems that can be effectively used in the drama classroom. The photos in this post are here to illustrate the poem ‘The Jungle’ by Andrew Pender-Smith.

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The Jungle

The jungle’s alive with

jungly sounds:

Screeching parrots

and grunting tigers.

The beating of jungle drums.

The roar of a far-off waterfall.

The loud trumpeting of

an old, grey elephant

and the galloping hooves of a buck

as a growling lion chases him.

Run, buck – runnn!

                     ©    Andrew Pender-Smith

Teachers and students are free to use this poem. I hope they enjoy using it.

Once again I include one of my maxims: ‘A poem a day helps build vocabulary the easy way’.

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