you need is a willingness to try. With a few simple steps you
enjoy studying poetry withyour children! Here are three helpful tips to equip you to succeed:1.
By reading, singing, and reciting poetry to young children, you begin tocultivate and instill a love of the lyrical language in the novice ear of the child. Lullabiessoothe the soul, Mother Goose rhymes reinforce the ability to put words together, and Dr.Seuss teaches us that poetry can be humorous.2. When teaching poetry to the very young,
read aloud with feeling and emphasis, stressthe rhyming words and the visual imagery evoked by the vocabulary
. Use poetry as aspringboard to learn about other topics. For example “Forgiven” by A. A. Milne is awonderful story about a beetle. Read and recite these verses several times. Use this poemas a starting point to learn about beetles, and then branch into learning about other insects.3.
Introduce young children to different types of poetry
. Nonsensical poems, such as thosewritten by Shel Silverstein or Dr. Seuss, help children see the “funny side” of life. Imaginarypoems, such as “The Land of Nod” by Robert Louis Stevenson, can transport children into afairyland world and unleash their inner creativity.Moral lessons can be taught through poems such as “Whole Duty of Children” by RobertLouis Stevenson. As children mature, stories in rhyme such as “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” by Robert Browning or “The Duel” by Eugene Field can be introduced and contemplated.Historical poems, such as “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow or “A Balladof the Boston Tea Party” by Oliver Wendell Holmes, can be used to examine and expand onactual events that shaped the world we live in today.A full poetry course such as
The Art of Poetry
by Christine Perrin is a wonderful resource forhigh school-aged students. Helpful anthologies such as
The Harp and Laurel Wreath
Favorite Poems Old and New
provide great choices for reading aloud.
How Do I Get Started?
Enjoying poetry begins with listening. Teach your children to listen to the way a poemsounds. Focus on the sounds rather than on the meaning. As they read a poem, teach themto experience the poem by rereading it, emphasizing the rhyme and rhythm.The exercise below will help children focus on the sounds and then use vivid vocabulary todescribe and paint a picture of those places. • Fold a piece of paper into fourths. Have each square represent a different place, such as abeach, forest, city, etc.• What sounds would be heard at each place?• Describe each sound with at least three adjectives.• Younger children can simply draw pictures and list the sounds beneath each picture.Another way to teach listening is to have children record nature sounds or listen to them onthe Internet. They can listen to birds, wind, water, insects, rain, etc. and then create a list of words that describe each sound. Have a thesaurus handy so that they don’t rely solely ontheir limited vocabularies.Teach children to observe the environment around them. Take note of the sights, sounds,and feelings of the seasons. What colors are evident in autumn? What emotions do those