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"How to Delay Your Bedtime"
Poetry Theater

A poem in four voices

Adapted from the poem by Bruce Lansky in My Dog Ate My Homework, published by Meadowbrook Press.

Summary: A child suggests ways to delay his or her bedtime.

Presentation Suggestions: Have the students read or perform the poem in front of the class. Have the students act out the different lines while they read them. For example, while reading the lines about brushing your teeth, have the student mime brushing.

Props: A toothbrush and a desk used as an imaginary bed would be great props but if they are not available the poem can be performed without them.

Delivery: The lines of the poem need to be read with poetic rhythm; please note that one line of the poem is often split between different characters. In addition, the narrator is often called upon to read one-word action statements related to the other characters. These are also part of the poem. For more information on poetic rhythm and how to perform poetry in classroom, please read the Performing Poetry section under the Teacher's Resources.

Characters:
Narrator
Child
Mom
Dad

How to Delay Your Bedtime

Narrator:

(Reads title of poem)
Refuse to turn off the TV.
Say:

Child:

All my friends watch this show.

Narrator:

Shout:

Child:

No Fair!.

Narrator:

when you're told to go to bed.
Then ask:

Child:

Why can't I stay up till ten like all my friends?

Narrator:

When Dad says:

Dad:

If all your friends
jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge
would you jump, too?

Narrator:

Sneer:

Child:

Yes!

Narrator:

Whine:

Child:

I'm too tired to walk upstairs to bed.

Narrator:

Make Dad carry you up the stairs.

Narrator:

Pout:

Child:

I'm too tired to brush my teeth.

Narrator:

Wait till Dad squeezes the toothpaste
onto your brush and starts brushing
your teeth for you.
Then groan:

Child:

Ouch, you're hurting me.

Narrator:

When Mom comes in to say good night
and asks you to pick up your clothes,
yawn:

Child:

I'm too tired to pick up my clothes.

Narrator:

Watch while you Mom picks them up for you.
Beg:

Child:

I need a bedtime story.

Narrator:

When Mom finishes the story,
ask :

Child:

And then what happened?

Narrator:

Tell her:

Child:

That story got me excited.
Now I need a backrub to make me sleepy

Narrator:

When Mom starts rubbing, give directions:

Child:

Rub a little higher.
No, a little to the left.
No, more to the middle.

Narrator:

When Mom stops rubbing,
grumble:

Child:

I was just starting to feel sleepy--
don't stop now.

Narrator:

When Mom says:

Mom:

For the last time, good night!

Narrator:

Whine:

Child:

I'm thirsty.
Can I have a glass of water?

Narrator:

When Mom asks you to promise
you won't wet the bed,
say :

Child:

I promise.

Narrator:

But cross your fingers.
Start crying.
When Dad comes to comfort you,
sob :

Child:

There's a monster under my bed.

Narrator:

When he turns on the lights,
you'll see that it's only your shoes, socks, crayons,
and the toy you got last Christmas
but only played with once because you lost it.
Tell him:

Child:

Leave the door open
so I can see the hall light!

Narrator:

When he opens the door,
plead :

Child:

Open it wider!

Narrator:

When Dad leaves,
get the toy from under your bed
and play with it in the light
shining through your doorway.

THE END!

© 1996 by Bruce Lansky. Adapted from the poem "How to Delay Your Bedtime" from My Dog Ate My Homework, published by Meadowbrook Press. This classroom theater play version of "How to Delay Your Bedtime" is © 1999 by Meadowbrook Press.

Click the cover for more information or to buy the book.
    My Dog Ate My Homework!    

Permission is given for individual school classes to perform this play and to make as many copies of the play as are needed for the students' use. All other reproduction and performance is prohibited under penalty of law. For use of this play outside individual classes, please contact info@meadowbrookpress.com for permission.

Click here to learm more about Bruce Lansky.