Read Poetry To Your Children (via MonkeyReader)

Writing Tips

Gary R. Hess

Reading poetry to children might sound a bit tedious. In today’s world, we often convince ourselves that we don’t have time for the simple tasks in life. We make excuses such as “I need to run to the store” or “I need to do the laundry” or even “my favorite television show is on.” Once you know the great positive influence poetry plays in children’s lives, you might magically find some time to read together.

Poetry can play an important part in the development of children. Actually, according to Beginning to read: Thinking and learning abut print, children who are without phonemic awareness find difficulty in learning to read and write. Instead of focusing on the phonemes, the children focus on the meaning of the word.

Luckily, reading poetry to children is a great way to avoid later learning problems. Children’s rhymes such as Mother Goose and Dr. Seuss do the job perfectly. By simply reading the rhymes with children, they work effectively towards helping the children gain phonemic awareness.

Once you think about about this, it makes sense. With rhymes, it’s easy for children to know the phonetic pronunciation. When they see the word “bat” in a poem after the word “cat”, they know exactly what the word is suppose to sound like.

Even though we live in a busy world with entertainment all around us, we still need to find time for the ones we love–especially when dealing with children’s education. By simply reading poetry with your child at an early age, you will help them understand the phonemes of words and get a jump start on reading and writing.

In Memoriam

Magazine News

Joe Drabyak, bookseller extraordinaire, past President of the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association, friend and mentor to many, sadly passed away on August 27th, 2010.

Joe was a supporter of PS by distributing the magazine at his store since we started 6 years ago. We are very sorry to hear about the loss to the local literary community, and our condolences go out to his friends and family.

He will be sorely missed, but never forgotten. We all pray he’s in a better place now, reading a “Joe Pick”, and making recommendations to all that are with him. Rest In Peace, Joe.

Arrangements for a memorial service are pending. We will post themtime and place as soon as they are finalized. Joe Drabyak, bookseller extraordinaire, past President of the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association, friend and mentor to many, sadly passed away on August 27th, 2010.

The person I spoke to at CCBMC said memories of and tributes to Joe Drabyak via email for possible future posting on his FACEBOOK page and for a keepsake book. You can e-mail these to

Eight Rules for Writing Fiction:


Kurt Vonnegut

Eight rules for writing fiction:

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.

3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

4. Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action.

5. Start as close to the end as possible.

6. Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.

7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

— Vonnegut, Kurt Vonnegut, Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons 1999), 9-10.


Several authors from the new book PROMPTED read at Steel City Coffee in Phoenixville. Shown: Jason/Wolfgang Books, authors Jill Belack, Eileen Cunniffe, Todd Stevens, all members of Greater Wordshop Studio in Philadelphia.


The second annual Chestnut Hill Book Festival on July 10th, and 11th will feature over 50 locally and nationally recognized authors. 

Philadelphia Stories will be hosting the following Festival events for writers in the Bombay Room at the Chestnut Hill Hotel:

Saturday, July 10: Philadelphia Stories will be hosting three fiction workshops. Workshops are $10 and open to the public. Space is limited, so please email to reserve a seat. The schedule is as follows:

Getting Started (12-1:30)
You have a great idea. You’ve always wanted to write. You used to write but haven’t in years. This hands-on workshop will offer tips and strategies to wake up that muse and get writing!
Moderator: Curtis Smith

Shaping a story (2:30-4)
How can you grab readers from the start, hold them through the middle, and leave them satisfied at the end? This hands-on workshop will explore the writing process and help you shape your characters, plot, and voice into a dynamic story.
Moderator:Susan Barr-Toman

The Art of Revision (4:30-6)
You’ve gotten your first draft done. Now what? This workshop will discuss how to polish the language, characters, and structure of your story.
Moderator: Philadelphia Stories fiction editor Carla Spataro
Sunday, July 11
(12-4): Get great marketing tips and a chance to learn about the local literary scene at these panel discussions. Workshops are $10 and open to the public. Space is limited, so please email to reserve a seat.

Getting connected (12-1:30): Trying to connect with other writers or figure out the best place to get published? This panel discussion will cover the local literary scene, including how to find workshops, retreats, readings, and other great community events for writers. Panelists include: Alison Hicks (Wordshop Studio), PR guru Don Lafferty, and more.

Tips for Marketing Your Book- (2:30-4): How do you get your book noticed when you are competing with thousands of other new titles? This panel discussion will cover how to find a publicist, marketing your book in a 2.0 world, getting media coverage, and more. Panelists include: Elise Brown, author Marie Lamba, author Nancy Viau and author Scott Heydt.

Other fair events will include author readings, signings, panel discussions, writer workshops, poetry slams and more.  For children, there will be storytelling, costume parades, and other fun activities.