Happy World Poetry Day: How you can share the power of poetry with your kids and why you should
Happy World Poetry Day! Today is the perfect day to celebrate children's books for their exceptional rhythm and rhyme.
Reading children's books is a fun way for the whole family to honor the poem in one of its most playful forms. We are so excited to celebrate World Poetry Day with you because we know how important poetry is for all of us!
Beyond its importance and usefulness as a learning tool for kids, it's beautiful, magical, and has the power to evoke feelings, memories, and more. Poetry also offers a unique space to express yourself, whether reading or writing it. Though these messages sound like abstract topics to teach a child, they're really things that just come naturally over time, as long as you commit to a reading routine. All the more reason to continue reading with your child as much as possible!
Introducing children of any age (babies and toddlers included) to poetry is an exceptional way to help develop phonological awareness and encourage children to read with the fun sounds and rhythm. Reading poetry aloud to your children (captivating illustrations are must) will enchant them into learning repetition and rhyme. And remember, nursery rhymes are a wonderful place to start for babies and toddlers.
What's so important about phonological awareness?
Phonological awareness is the ability to learn and understand letters, words, and their correlating sounds. Since poems and children's books are designed to rhyme, blend different sounds together, incorporate repetition, and entertain children, they're a great tool to understanding language and communication. Chanting, singing, or simply hearing poems is an effective way to introduce children to language patterns and how language and text connect. A child will then organically learn to identify sounds and parts of words, making natural connections. Poetry allows children to play with language and explore the many forms of speech.
We have a few ideas and activities for you and your children to explore the power of poetry! The tips below are best for children ages six and up, but don't forget to share a rhythmic book or nursery rhyme with your babies and toddlers today. (Yes, even singing counts!)
Tips to hop on the poetry wave with your kids:
1. Check out our very own Kenn Nesbitt's Poetry4Kids.com, a great resource for kids to explore a "funny poetry playground" and discover how fun poetry really is. You'll find a handy poetry thesaurus for reference (great for parents and teachers too), and tons of other great tools and lessons. Poetry4Kids is a helpful place to start for young boys and girls who may be reluctant toward reading and writing poetry.
2. See the poetry in things! For example, sing a favorite song with your little one and point out the fact that song lyrics are a form of poetry. Then write down the lyrics and explore the poem's structure, form, and perhaps repetitive nature. Or, use photographs to inspire poetry writing. Pull out old scrapbooks, family vacation photos, etc. and write down a line for what you see.
3. Take a poetry walk. Celebrate poetry by observing our beautiful world. Find a scenic or interesting location for a poetry outing where you can record various sensory images (an important part of poetry). Parks, museums, and historical spots produce creative results! You and your child can write down one line for each interesting happening, and at the end of the outing, put together your lines in a poem and see what fun you come up with! Be sure to display it on the fridge or bulletin board when you're done.
4. If you're a poetry enthusiast yourself, create a poem Mad Lib activity for you and your child to do together! Here's how: choose a poem that you especially love (and that's somewhat easy to understand for your child). Remove one or two words from each line, choosing words that represent a variety of parts of speech (nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc.), print it out on a new piece of paper, and fill in the blanks with new words that correspond to the command. Have fun with it, be silly, change it up! Remind your child that they're indeed a poet. If you love poetry, this activity is as much for you as it is for your little one!
5. Pick out children's books that celebrate rhyme, rhythm, and repetition! This is pretty easy to do because most children's books are written to be read aloud together. However, there are certainly books that rhyme or flow more rhythmically at a more obvious pace. So, read aloud today and celebrate beloved children's stories for their sound, sense, and expression! (This activity is appropriate for all ages!)
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