In the summer of 2014, I retired from a 35 year career as an elementary school teacher. My first two years, I taught Prefirst and First grades. My last 33 years, I served as a Special Educator teaching students in several different grades.
One of my greatest pleasures as a teacher was the opportunity to read picture books to my students. I found that students of all ages and various developmental levels could benefit from their experiences with picture books.
One of my goals in retirement is to write picture books. This past year, I have been spending a lot of time reading recently published picture books, researching good mentor texts.
This year, in the month of March, I participated for the first time in ReFoREMo, The Reading for Research Month Challenge. This challenge was started in 2015 by Carrie Charley Brown “to help picture book writers reform writing by reading and researching mentor texts.” Check out reforemo.com to learn more about Carrie and the other contributors to this blog.
During March, I read over 100 picture books and gained valuable information from the blog posts and author comments.
The treasure I am sharing is that by going to this site you may still check out the reading list of the books I read in March. Have fun this summer immersing yourself in these books. Discover new books to share with your students and children.
I’d love to hear from you about your favorite picture books and memories about times you’ve shared these books. It will be fun to add to our treasure chest of great mentor texts.
As a child I loved to sing or say rhyming poems, especially with actions. When I was in kindergarten, I recall being one of the three little kittens acting out the nursery rhyme, “The Three Little Kittens”. I still remember many of the songs or rhymes I learned when I was very young.
Multi sensory activities are valuable for your children. Rather than just having your child sing along or play along with a video, personally get involved with your children: singing songs, reciting poems, or rhythmically sharing rhymes with actions. Enjoy this sweet time of laughter and closeness. Your child will remember your presence.
When I taught Sunday School, the children loved singing: “This Little Light of Mine”, “Father Abraham Had Many Sons”, “I’ve Got the Joy Down in My Heart”, “Rise and Shine and Give God the Glory”, and “Deep and Wide”. (If you aren’t familiar with the words of these songs, they can be found on-line.)
It’s amazing how much truth can be taught through the joyful sharing of songs.
I hope you will comment about some of your favorite children’s rhymes and songs. Let’s encourage each other to invest in quality experiences with our children and grandchildren.
When I was very young, I learned many songs and rhymes. It is amazing how I still recall their words although they were taught to me over sixty years ago.
I often think back to my childhood and remember fun times. Many biblical truths and character values were passed on to me by people who loved me and invested time with me through joyful play.
As I prepared to write this post, a special memory captivated my attention. I pictured myself, as a young child, with my stubby little fingers attempting to form a church as I said this little jingle:
Here is the church.
Here is the steeple.
Open the doors.
And see all the people.
I could feel the love of the person who was near me, helping me learn the rhyme with its finger play. I could see her hands.
As I thought about this event in my past, I also remembered the frustration I experienced when I tried to correctly interlock my middle, ring, and baby fingers so my hands, placed close together, could form the church building. I recalled having trouble figuring out how to lift both of my pointer fingers so the tips of these fingers touched to make the steeple. Then, I was challenged to put my thumbs side by side to make the doors.
Whoever was helping me was very patient! She showed me with her hands how to do it as she joyfully said the rhyme. It was strange how I could almost feel the warmth of her loving hands as she guided my hands and fingers to be positioned correctly, intertwined in unity.
Have you ever had a memory flood over you like this? . . . . making you feel like you were back in time so you could almost feel the touch of the person near you?
When I finally learned how to say the rhyme and do the actions successfully, I recall wiggling my fingers excitedly, almost as though I was making the “people” rejoice in my success.
It’s interesting that this memory came to me with Mother’s Day so near. Both my mother and grandmother are in heaven now so I can’t ask either one of them who taught me that rhyme.
But I can pray and thank God for my spiritual heritage. I had grandmothers and a mother who demonstrated the love of God to me. They taught me so many lessons by their actions. They planted little seeds of truth that grew in me so I grew in my faith. They taught me to pray. I thank God for my grandmothers and mother and I pray that I may leave a legacy of love as they did.
I believe God brought this memory back to me for more reasons. He is reminding me of the church’s purpose to share His values and truths to the next generations. As members of the body of Christ, it is our responsibility to share the gospel in ways that engage the little ones.
What is God saying for today as we say this rhyme together. I think He is wanting us to recognize how different all the “people” are in His Church. (tall fingers, short fingers, different colored fingers). He is reminding us that we are to be connected with each other in unity to grow in Him. But then we are to open the doors of our church buildings to let people in, people who are hurting, searching for love and truth. Also, we the “people”, God’s family, are to go out of the doors into the community, spreading seeds of Truth in ways that show how much God loves all people.
God wants us to be His hands and feet.
As we study God’s Word, we know how important it is for us, His body, to fellowship together especially as the time of Jesus’ return draws near. Ponder these words from Hebrews 10: 19-25 (NKJV):
Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much more as you see the Day approaching.
All of Hebrews, especially chapters 9, 10, and 11, are key scriptures for today.
We, the people, are the church. As we fellowship together whether in a building with a steeple, in a home, or in places throughout our community, we are to encourage each other to complete the individual work we are called to do. We have great purpose! I pray we remember our mission to the little ones and the lost. May we be found faithful as the commended saints of old.
A few weeks ago, on May 3, 2018, our nation celebrated the National Day of Prayer. This year’s theme was Pray for America – Unity, referring to God’s word to us in Ephesians 4:3, NIV: Making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. In Ephesians 4, God shares again His perfect plan. Let’s wiggle our fingers and rejoice in knowing He has already equipped us. May we show God’s love and peace to the world as we are empowered by His Spirit, looking to Jesus.
Parents and Grandparents,
We have an important job. Each day we serve as ambassadors to our children.
Whom do we represent?
In 2017, I want to be a plenipotentiary for Jesus Christ, representing Him well in front of the lives of my children and grandchildren.
The sun is up.
A new day is here.
My Son stays up.
There’s nothing to fear.
What others may see.
Look closely, child,
See My Son’s glory.
Within and without.
In Him, there’s no doubt.
So souls will be warned.
They will be adorned.
A day has dawned
Truth came to this earth.
Glory to Him.
Thank Him for rebirth.
Praise the Lord now.
Rejoice in this day.
My Son’s alive!
He still shows the way.
What about you? Have you discovered The Way? Jesus is reaching out to you in love and saying, “Follow Me. I’ll show you.”
Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. (John 14:6 NASB)
In 2017 I am challenged to live in a way that gives God glory.
In the year 2016 I wrote on the topic of glory with the Christian Writer’s Circle. See more posts about glory by clicking here.