Wordplay for Kids: A Sourcebook of Poems, Rhymes, and Read-Alouds

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Instilling a love of reading in a child pays dividends long after early literacy skills have been mastered. The key to successful programming is to make children become participants, encouraging a "literary ear" and love of the beauty of language itself. To help children develop artful language patterns, correct grammar, and a large and rich vocabulary, Wadham offers a range of complete programs for children ages 5-12 that introduce literature in a systematic way. Organized by age, each program 


  • Begins with a list of suggested age-appropriate poems, ranging from choral poetry and nursery rhymes to short, humorous selections and longer narrative poems, all designed to be shared orally
  • Includes read-alouds that encourage engagement, such as folklore, fairy tales, mythology, and fables
  • Suggests an activity directly based on each read-aloud, with handy information about target audience and size, program length, setup time, and materials and supplies needed
  • Comes with a planning calendar showing the length of time necessary to complete the program
  • Features a booklist of additional titles that can be used to create even more programs


A fun way to transmit cultural literacy while helping to create a love of poetry, the rhythm of language, and verbal skills, Wadham's programs help children's librarians, school librarians, and storytime leaders encourage all children to be lifelong readers. 

  Foreword Chapter One: Shared Warmth: A Parent-Child Reading ProgramChapter Two: Wordplay for Five- to Seven-Year-OldsChapter Three: Wordplay for Eight- to Twelve-Year-OldsChapter Four: Literature I Like to Share with Children Index 

Tim Wadham

Since 2002 Tim Wadham has been an adjunct professor for the University of Arizona Library School, teaching courses in children's literature and youth services. A former director of the Puyallup Public Library in Puyallup, Washington, previously he also served as youth services coordinator for the Maricopa County Library District in Phoenix, Arizona. A children's author, he published his first picture book, The Queen of France, with Candlewick Press in 2011. He has written two other titles for ALA Neal-Schuman, including Libros Esenciales: Building, Marketing, and Programming a Core Collection of Spanish Language Children's Materials.

"A quick read full of helpful suggestions and templates for program tools. Most importantly it goes a long way to building a new generation of life-long readers. In the process, children develop increased vocabulary, insight into the complexity of language, and improved literacy skills. An additional strength of the program is that it asks for active parent participation, thus bringing reading into the home. Highly recommended for public libraries, school libraries, and academic libraries with an active teaching/elementary school program."
— Public Services Quarterly

"Wadham's work is a prime example of how to simultaneously envelop young readers in poetry, rhyme, and prose while developing a love of literature. This sourcebook is a great addition to professional collections in school libraries and public libraries serving children."
— Catholic Library World