How to Read Children’s Literature: Hey Diddle Diddle

What a Reader Is Asked to Know

About Life

  •         What a cat is, what a cow is, what the dog is, what a moon is, what a dish is, and what it means for to jump, what diddle means, what it means to laugh, what it means to run.
  •         How unlikely it would be in real life for a cat to play a fiddle or a cow to be able to reach the moon.

About Language

  •         How to read in general, to understand english in order to comprehend the text, how to understand letter sounds.
  •         What the word sport means in the context of this rhyme.
  •         What rhyming is.

About Literature

  •         What a Nursery Rhyme is.
  •         That literature consists of both real stories and make believes elements and how to tell the difference between the two.

What a Reader Is Asked to Do

  •         To see and understand what they are reading.
  •         To process whether the text is supposed to be serious or just fun.

·         Understand that nursery rhymes have a type of melodic pattern and be able to follow that pattern.


How to Read Children’s Literature: The Tortoise And The Hare

What a reader is Asked to know:

About life

  • What hare is, what a tortoise is.
  • The concept of a race, winning and losing
  • The side effects of over eating and direct exposure to the sun .
  • What is breakfast and a cabbage field is.

About Language

  • How to read the text as the author intended.
  • The usage of literary devices such as metaphors in the language of the text and the personification of the characters in the tale.

About Literature 

  • What a fable is
  • The literary text is designed to serve as a frame of reference to teach readers on a moral and logical lesson of the tale.
  • The unlikely outcome of a tortoise communicating and participating in a race with a hare.

What a Reader is Asked to Do

  • Possess the factual and cultural knowledge and a body of knowledge of literature required to thoroughly enjoy the text.
  • Understand that text is a fable is and that it serves as teaching point of a moral and logical lesson.
  • To perceive the experience behind the fallacy and triumphs of the characters then relate to their actions in sorts of creating an emotional or mental attachment to the tale itself.

The Implied Reader

The implied reader for this text would be anyone unaware of the pit falls of hubris and arrogant acts. Since this body of text is a fable and its purpose is to be used as a frame of reference for moral teaching guidelines. The personification of the characters as a hare and tortoise creates a fictitious background for the story. Making the fable, a fantasy realm structured for the enjoyment of readers with creative minds and  inexperienced hearts ready to absorb the lesson of the tale. Perfect for such implied readers such as children whose minds are like sponges ready to absorb all that this tale has to offer. The fable would be more likely become a mental or emotional attachment point to a child on the start of their journey to a cognitive state of mind.


Mary Had A Little Lamb

What a reader is asked to KNOW:

About Life

  • What is a lamb?
  • Distinguish that white is a color and how the color white relates to snow.
  • How unlikely it would be for a lamb to follow a child (Mary) to school in reality.
  • The significance of rules at an institution.
  • How a companionship may be formed between child and animal.

About Language

  • Basic understanding of the English Language
  • Why “Mary” is capitalized within the poem.
  • The significance of punctuation within the poem.

About Literature

  • How admiration and embarrassment can be expressed through words.
  • The importance of repetition within the poem.
  • The key differences between a poem and another form of literature.


What a reader is asked to DO:

  • Have an understanding of how the words come together to create a story.
  • Understand that the text is imaginative
  • Understand that this is a poem, and the characteristics that make this text a poem, (Rhyme scheme, stanzas, etc.)


Who is the implied reader?

The implied reader of the nursery rhyme, “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, is a child. Based off of the simplicity of the poem, the implied reader will have a common understanding of the importance of companionship and that there are times and places suitable for one. The nursery rhyme highlights the different emotions we face. Excitement, admiration and embarrassment are all clearly felt in certain stanzas of the poem. The implied reader will be able to correlate the emotion with the action and vice versa, (cause and effect).


Hale, Sarah Josepha Buell, and Bruce McMillan. Mary Had a Little Lamb. New York: Scholastic, 1990. Print.


How To Read “Teddy Bear” By A.A. Milne

A bear, however hard he tries,
Grows tubby without exercise.

Our Teddy Bear is short and fat,

Which is not to be wondered at;

He gets what exercise he can

By falling off the ottoman,

But generally seems to lack

The energy to clamber back.”
What the reader is asked to know:
About Life
·         What is the significance of a teddy bear
·         The difference between what it means to be “stout” and “slim”
About Language
·         To recognize the importance of repetition and rhyme schemes
·         The playfulness of dialogue
o   For example: “Well, well!”  “Tut-tut!”
About Literature
·         The use of personification and rhetorical questions
·         The underlying theme of the poem regarding self-esteem and body image
What the reader is asked to do:
·         Enjoy the rhythm and rhyme of the poem
·         Understand the deeper meaning that the poem holds
Who is the Implied Reader?
                Although the rhymes and silliness of the poem make it clearly intended for children, there is no doubt the adults can also find the deeper meaning. As a society, there are expectations and principles that can affect our own self-worth. Even though this particular poem was published in 1924, it can still be relevant for many older people today. Lack of self-esteem due to physical appearance is an issue that children learn quickly and adults struggle with.



How to Read Children’s Literature: “Hey Diddle Diddle”

What the Reader Is Asked to Know

About Life

  • What a cat is, what a fiddle is, what a cow is, what a moon is, what a dog is, what a dish is, what a spoon is.
  • What does diddle mean?
  • How did a cat learn to fiddle?
  • How can a cow jump? Especially high enough to jump over the moon which is in space?
  • Why does the dog think that what he is seeing in fun and funny for that matter?
  • A dish and a spoon are both non-living things, how are they running? Who are they running from, or running away to?

About Language

  • Certain words have a rhyming scheme.
  • What do the words of this poem mean?
  • How are the words related to each other?
  • Why does the poem end with an exclamation mark?

About Literature

  • This text suggests a series of activities that seem impossible to happen in reality.
  • What is a nursery rhyme? What constitutes one?
  • This text evokes visionary thoughts that may not make sense but is nonetheless pleasurable to imagine.


What the Reader is Asked to Do

  • Visually see that there are words (in English) on the page and read them together and understand their meanings.
  •  Assume that this text is for entertainment, therefore experience pleasure.
  • See that there is rhythm and rhyme.
  • Use imagery and imagination that may raise inquires as to how the poem ends from its very unusual beginning.


The Implied Reader: Children and Adults who will read this for themselves and then to children.  This nursery rhyme is considered a literary pleasure that creates a read where very familiar texts become extremely unfamiliar once unusual if not weird behavior’s begin to occur.  Children will find this funny and strange at the same time, giving them countless opportunities to create their own endings or twist’s to the story.




How to Read Children’s Literature: The Tortoise And The Hare

The Tortoise And The Hare

What a reader is asked to know

  • About life
    • What is a tortoise? A tortoise is a slow creature.
    • What is a hare? A hare is a speedy animal.
    • What is a race? A race is a competition that tests who is faster between at least two people.
  • About language
    • The reader is expected to know how to read in English and the implications of each word. This would include the adjectives used to describe the situations the characters were in.
    • “Tortoise” and “Hare” are capitalized to tell the reader that the two are important characters.
  • About literature
    • The reader is asked to know that this story is a fable, a story that teaches a life lesson.

What a reader is asked to do

  • The reader is asked to interpret the characters and understand their respective qualities. The Tortoise is surrounded with text that implies that it is slow and the Hare is described as fast.
  • The reader is asked to understand that the Hare’s actions emit arrogance or overconfidence.
  • The reader is asked to recognize the moral and lesson of the story.

Implied Reader

  • The implied reader is a young child or person who is deemed arrogant.
  • The vernacular and writing style implies that the reader has to understand elementary level English.

How to Read Children’s Literature: Hades and Persephone

The story of the seasons.

What the reader is supposed to know….

1) about life:
-The reader is supposed to know the definition of the Underworld.
-The reader is supposed to understand the importance of grains and fertility (in addition to what fertility is).
-The reader is supposed to be familiar with pomegranates.
-The reader is supposed to understand the idea and importance of seasons.

2) about language:
-The reader is supposed to be able to read and pronounce some difficult names.

3) about literature:
-The reader is supposed to know enough Greek mythology to understand Zeus’ divine power.
-The reader is supposed to know and understand despair.
-The reader is supposed to understand the idea that a mother’s love, in literature, can transcend earth/space/time.

What a reader is asked to do…

1) The reader is asked to accept the idea that if food from the Underworld is eaten, the consumer cannot return to Earth.

2) The reader is asked to connect the unison of Demeter and Persephone with spring, and their separation with winter.

3) The reader is asked to connect love with warmth and growth and despair with cold and death.

Implied reader of the text:

I think think the implied reader is a child regardless of the potentially difficult names. Children can connect the idea of love with growth, sunlight and warmth. They can also connect despair, or sadness, with the cold, dark winter. The love that a mother has for her child is a simple concept that a child could easily grasp.


How to Read: The Tortoise and the Hare

  • What a Reader is asked to know:
    • About life
      • The reader is asked to know what a Tortoise and a Hare is.
      • The reader should also understand the concept of a competition and race. This includes understanding the significance of winning/ losing.
    • About language:
      • The reader should know that the tortoises speech implies that he is arrogant.
      • The reader should understand the level of vocabulary in the text. (e.g.  “lolling”, “rival”, etc.)
    • About literature:
      • The reader should know that this story is meant to teach a lesson


  •  What a reader is asked to do:
    • The reader is asked to understand the language of the story in order to figure out the moral that lied within the text. The moral that they discover can also be used to figure out who is a better character and why.


  • Implied reader:
    • The implied reader is a person/ child with at least a first grade vocabulary. The implied reader should be able to gain some moral insight after reading this story that can be applied to their lives.

How to read children’s lit: The Lion and the Mouse

What a Reader is asked to know:

  1. About life:

What a lion is, what a mouse is

The relationship or lack of between a mouse and lion

How a lion can help a mouse

  1. About language:

The tone of the story

The voice in which the story is told

The perspective of the mouse and lion

What timid means

What roused means

What is means to spear someone or something?

  1. About literature:

What it means to use personification

What the theme of the fable is


What a reader is asked to do:

Using their imagination figure out how a mouse can help a lion.

Understand the theme once finding out how the mouse actually did help

Implied reader:

The implied reader of this text are children who are on a mature reading level with the ability to identify the theme among fables and the use of personification. Also those who associate themselves as an unlikely source to help in a major way in the case of the mouse.


How to Read Children’s Literature: Baa, Baa, Black Sheep

Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full;One for my master,
One for my dame,
And one for the little boy
That lives in our lane.

What a Reader Is Asked to Know

About Life

  • what a black sheep is
  • what a master, a dame, and a little boy are
  • what wool is, and that it comes from sheep
  • that a lane is like a street or road

About Language

  • that “baa baa” indicates the sound that sheep make
  • the rhyme scheme
  • recognizing that they are not true rhymes however they still work

 About Literature

  • that nursery rhymes often personify animals
  • that sheep cannot actually verbally articulate what the three bags of wool are for

 What a Reader Is Asked to Do

  • recognize that nursery rhymes have a sing-song type melody to them
  • realize that the rhyme scheme and melody may be more evident when read out loud

Who is the Implied Reader?

The implied reader for this nursery rhyme are children. More specifically this could be narrowed down to children that may have an interest in sheep, it would make sense that they would pick this particular piece of literature for their parent to read to them. As Jonathan Klassen said in “How to Read Children’s Literature,” that the implied reader could be anyone in the targeted age group, however the content of the particular literature in question goes deeper into the interests of children in relation to the topic. Hence a child that actively hates sheep is not the implied reader for this nursery rhyme.