Poetry Friday: Rhyming Fairy Tales

My work so far as the Kids Club Reading Specialist has been very peripheral, very fragmented. I’m at each site weekly, and I’ve met with students one-on-one or in small groups every other week…if we’re lucky and their parents don’t pick them up in the middle of a lesson or before we even get started.

I’m not complaining, but I AM looking forward to next week when schools are closed for two days following Martin Luther King, Jr. Day for a Professional Development Day and a Records Day. On Tuesday and Wednesday, 24 students will participate in all-day Kids Club, and I’ll have the opportunity to work with them as a whole group!

Tuesday will be Fairy Tale Day. We’ll start with TELLING STORIES WRONG by Gianni Rodari. This is the story of a grandfather who just can’t seem to tell the story of Little Red Riding Hood the way it’s supposed to be told. Clever readers will be able to figure out why. This book doesn’t rhyme, but it will lead us to others that do.

Next up, I’ll have some of the older students prepped to perform a poem from VERY SHORT FAIRY TALES TO READ TOGETHER by Mary Ann Hobermann. Then I’ll invite pairs of students to practice and perform a poem from one of the You Read To Me, I’ll Read To You books.

Finally, in the upcoming weeks when we’re back to the regular schedule, my read aloud with small groups and individuals will be…

…ENDLESSLY EVER AFTER: PICK YOUR PATH THE COUNTLESS FAIRY TALE ENDINGS by Laurel Snyder. This rhyming picture book is a tour de force of planning. I literally have no idea how she must have plotted this book so that the reader has SO many different paths to follow! And in RHYME, no less! I love that not all of the endings are happy and not all of the paths are long. Plus, Dan Santat’s illustrations are tons of fun! I can’t wait to explore this book with readers of all ages and see what they think. I’m not sure we’ll get much past read aloud in those sessions…and that’s just FINE!

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Susan at Chicken Spaghetti.

And here’s the lowdown on the Poetry Sisters’ January Challenge: We chose the word TRANSFORMATION to guide our work throughout the year, and for January, we’re writing a CASCADE poem. The Cascade form takes every line from the first stanza of your poem and TRANSFORMS those lines into the final lines of each stanza thereafter. (The link helpfully creates a little form that shows you how easy this might be.) Beyond that, there are no additional rules. Long or short, free verse, sonnet, or sestina, find a way in which you can incorporate the idea (or word) transformation as you write. We’ll post our poems on the last Friday of the month (1/27/23). I hope you’ll join us!

17 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Rhyming Fairy Tales”

  1. Some new titles here, Mary Lee! Thank you. I loved using those Hoberman books with kids (and so did they). Hope you have tons of fun next week. And I’m going to check out that Cascade Poem. Sounds intriguing.


  2. Ditto Margaret’s comment. It sounds a bit frustrating with time but also seems like you’re having so much fun. Thanks for the book titles!


  3. Mary Lee, You are definitely making me miss working with students! I did a garden club (15 years), a book club for first grade (5 years), and a writer’s circle for above-benchmark students for 6 years. I never minded the prep and appreciated all the time with the students I had. I also can understand how the fragmentation is frustrating – enrichment groups tend to get the short end of the stick. Parents want them but for some, they’re the first to be infringed upon when appointments, sports, or other commitments pop up. Thank you for what you do!


  4. Oh, your lucky students! Mary Ann Hoberman’s books are a perennial favorite with kids and my class loved working with them last month. Their appeal is timeless. I’ll definitely check out some of the other titles, but then I might just have to have to stop reading your posts because you’re really dinging up my budget! (By the way, I just read my class “Chester Van Chime Forgot How to Rhyme” today and they totally loved it!)


  5. ooooooh! Fun! I love the sources you’ve shared and a Cascade poem? Yes, please. I need to give that a try. Please take photos or have a student take photos so these kids can remember these special moments later. You are an amazing teacher!


  6. Endlessly Ever After is on my Mock Caldecott list this year with kids. I will say I have to tell them it’s a “choose your own adventure” because some of them are a little intimidated by the thickness of the book. It’s a fun one that blow my mind.


  7. These are all fascinating books, (The Snyder book sounds intriguing) and I love books that lend themselves to students reading them because that is so much fun. Enjoy the holiday and time off.


  8. Mary Lee, I remember running into you and–it was Franki, wasn’t it?–at NCTE in line to get some Mary Ann Hoberman f&gs! And I don’t know how I missed ENDLESSLY EVER AFTER. Putting that on my tbr shelf right now. Thanks for the recommendation, and enjoy your respite before you’re back helping readers! ❤


  9. And there you go, leaning over into Franki’s text set territory with grace and ease! I loved the Very Short Tales with my own kids, and look at those new titles I’ll need to check out! Enjoy the luxury of time with the kids.


  10. Mary Lee, your pursuit of amazing books to enrich your students is commendable. The lessons with your students sound wonderful. Having students perform is always fun. The cascade poem sounds interesting. I just look into that. Have a good respite.


  11. These are fantastic resources, Mary Lee. I also love Marilyn Singer’s Mirror Mirror for looking at fairy tales from two (poetic) perspectives.


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