Dillon requests the same book every night for 37 nights.

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 3.36.38 PM

“Are you sure you want this book” His mom says.

“Ye-ess!” he says annoyed that she would question.

Kids use repetition for mastery. So how we present a kids book is especially important. Some key concepts to keep in mind.

1. Rhyme is phonics. Kids are learning the sounds based on certain words rhyming. Anything longer than 2 syllables is a challenge for kids. So choose the impact word in the rhyme to be one syllable wherever you can. This may take some re-working of your sentences. Dr. Seuss re-worked The Cat in the Hat for 9 months before submitting it. Having words that are within kids sphere of mastery is critical.

2. Mind the beat. Kids love cadence. So a good kids book should have a natural up and down rhythm to it. Reworking your sentences until the beat works. This is another reason you may have to ditch multi-syllabic words. The longer the word, the more likely that is said differently in different parts of the word. So the emphasis and beat will change depending on who’s reading it. Single syllable words are said with the same rhythm almost everywhere.

3. End with the impact sentence. People have a tendency to write what they want to say then figure out something that rhymes with it and create that as sentence 2 in any stanza. They has the effect of creating anti-climactic writing. The rhythm becomes important – not important, important – not important. Flip your stanzas after you write them. Start with the less important phrase and end with the phrase that has greater importance. That way each sanza will build to a point of impact. It feels better to the reader and keeps them going.