For Parents and Grandparents

Fear of the dark is such a universal fear for young children.  It often occurs when the child is old enough to have an active imagination but not yet old enough to separate fantasy from reality.

The Moon Inside gives children the tools to embrace the nighttime rather than fear it. Parents who have adopted lengthy bedtime rituals to help soothe and settle their children will find The Moon Inside a helpful way to empower their children to begin to learn to soothe themselves.

  • Help your child to feel more comfortable with the dark by spending time outdoors like Ella does in the story
  • Pay attention to nighttime sights and sounds
  • Celebrate what’s unique around your home at night – it could be fireflies and crickets or the way the building next door glows when all the apartment lights come on.
  • Get glow-in-the-dark stickers (stars and planets) for your child’s room so that something special happens when the lights go out
  • Empower your child to feel more in control at night by being the one to turn on a night light or to place a flashlight near the bed

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Reading together and encouraging independent reading are ways we help our children develop strong vocabularies and an appreciation of how words are used.

I hope the Daisy Series will help young readers see that playing with words is fun!

Here are some suggestions for helping to foster Daisy’s love of words in others.

Daisy’s Big Night

1.  Read Daisy’s Big Night and talk about poetry. Do you have a favorite poem to share with your child?  Perhaps one you remember from your childhood?  Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” is a wonderful one to share with children and one that they can understand.  Talk about times you have chosen to take a different path and why.  Let your children tell you if they’ve ever chosen the less obvious path and where it took them.

2.  Check out poetry books from the library and help your child memorize a poem that he or she likes.  Memorizing poetry is a great way for children to really understand rhythm and meter.

3.  Give poetry as a gift.  I received a book of poetry when I was young that I still have.  It was a special gift that instilled in me a love of language and words.

4.  Try writing a haiku together.  Invite your children to think about something in nature that they really like.  Examples include a falling leaf, a particularly smooth rock, the ocean, and the moon.

5.  Teach them the 5-7-5 syllable format for haiku.  It helps younger children to think about counting beats rather than syllables, as Daisy learns to do in the book. Show them by tapping out the beats to the line of a familiar song.

6.  Help them think about what words to use just like Daisy does! Are the words descriptive, full of action, or meant to invoke a certain tone or image?

7.  Have your child substitute different words with similar meanings into the poem to see if it affects how the poem sounds, its rhythm, its feel.

8.  Share the haiku with your family and friends.  Poetry is meant to be shared.

Resources:  Check out http://www.poetryfoundation.org/children/poet-laureate-book-picks for suggestions of poetry for children by the Poetry Foundation’s poet laureate.

Daisy’s Defining Day

1.  Read Daisy’s Defining Day with your child. Talk about alliteration and point out well-known characters and book titles that are alliterative such as the characters Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, and the book Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse.

2.  Come up with a list of favorite alliterations.

3.  Make a game of noticing alliterations as you go about your day.  Have each member of the family report back at dinner time about what fun alliterations each found.  Many company names and slogans are alliterative.  Once you start looking, you’ll be amazed at how many alliterations you find in the world around you!

Daisy’s Perfect Word

1. Read Daisy’s Perfect Word with your children. Share some of your favorite words.

2. Encourage your child to make lists* of favorite words and you make lists, too.

3. Share with each other why specific words made it onto your lists. Why did you rule others out? There is no right or wrong way to select favorite words. I have given some of Daisy’s criteria in Daisy’s Perfect Word, but your family can develop its own.

4. Make a game of it.

Call Monday “short word” day and try to say as many short words as possible.

Make Tuesday “loud word” day and think of words that work well in loud situations.

Then Wednesday, “quiet word” day, will be a much more peaceful day to think about softer, gentler words.

Come up with your own word types for the rest of the week. Daisy would probably have one day devoted to Sweetest Words and another to Sparkling School Words.

5. As you go through your day, think of how you use words. Each day try to think of one interesting thing about language that occurred to you and share it with your child.

Did you use words that made someone’s day by giving a compliment or sharing some good news? Did you choose a certain word to end an email or text message because you hoped to convey a certain tone or feeling?

6. What were the most powerful words you used or heard today? Why?

7. What were the most important ones? Why?

8. Did someone’s reaction to words you used surprise you? Did your words have the consequences you intended?

9. What words would you like to hear your children use? Do you use those words yourself?

Please also look under the For Teachers and For Librarians tabs for other ways to engage children using the Daisy Series.

*You can download pages that look like those found in Daisy’s notebook for making your word lists here.

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