About the Book
This beginning reader book offers young children the chance to explore poetry through Jack Prelutsky's humorous verse. Each poem in this collection explores the topic of bedtime and night time rituals through the eyes of a child. Prelutsky's poems about "spooky shadows on the wall" and "sneaky flashlight reading" are just a few that will thrill children and remind them that all of us have checked under our beds at least once before drifting off to sleep. My Parents Think I'm Sleeping is a great springboard into a classroom poetry unit.
Set the Stage
Use the following to get students ready to read:
Ask students what they know about poetry. Describe how poetry is different from a story. Can poetry be silly or sad? Does poetry have to rhyme? Explain to students that poems do not have to rhyme as long as they contain other elements such as rhythm or pattern phrases, words that are chosen for their sound and meaning, and writing that is condensed and imaginative.
- Read several poem titles from the Table of Contents listing and ask students to predict what the poems may be about.
- Explain to students that an important element in some poetry is rhyme and word patterns. As you read ask students to listen for the poems that rhyme or have a pattern of words in them.
- Share with students that author Jack Prelutsky is the first ever Children's Poet Laureate. Explain that a Poet Laureate is appointed by the United States Librarian of Congress and serves for one term to raise awareness for poetry.
After reading the book, discuss the following with students:
Explain to students that word choices in poetry are very important. Have students listen carefully as you reread "Tonight is Impossibly Noisy" and ask students to share what words set the mood in the poem. If the author used less descriptive words, would the mood change?
- Ask students to vote on their favorite poem from the book. Use a bar graph to record the votes for each poem.
- Reread the top two favorite poems to the class. Ask students about the main idea of each poem. Ask how the poems were alike and how they were different. Record your comparisons on the board.
- Explain to students that when rhyming words are used in poetry they often occur every two or four lines and create a rhyming pattern. Reread "When I'm Very Nearly Sleepy" and ask students to listen for the rhyming words. Write part of the poem on the board and underline the rhyming words. Ask students to determine if this poem uses a two or four line rhyming pattern.
- Share some biographical information about the Jack Prelutsky with this biographical interview.