April is National Poetry Month!
Exploring poetry with your children is a fabulous way to exercise their God-given noggins. For the young ones especially, rhyming poetry is one of the keys to becoming a successful reader. For older kiddos, reading and hearing (and writing!) poetry is a wonderful way to develop both written and oral language skills. Beyond that, poetry fuels the imagination; it forces our brains to think creatively, to see things differently.
Poetry uses imagery and language to capture an emotion. In children's poetry, this is often humor or a sense of wonder, but it can also be fear, pain, anger, sadness, etc.
People express emotion in some way every day. A person can say she's happy or sad or mad and get her point across. But a poem takes expressing emotion a step further. The goal of the poet is for the reader to experience the emotion with her!
Consider these lines from the poem, "The Troll," by Jack Prelutsky:
His blood is black and boiling hot,
he gurgles ghastly groans.
He'll cook you in his dinner pot,
your skin, your flesh, your bones.
This poem has it all. Rhyme, alliteration, vivid imagery, strong language--making it a scary poem that my daughter used to refuse to allow me to read to her!
No matter how old your children are, consider exploring poetry with them! Here are a few suggestions of poetry books to get you started:
IT'S RAINING PIGS AND NOODLES, by Jack Prelutsky
WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS, by Shell Silverstein
SPLASH! POEMS OF OUR WATERY WORLD, by Constance Levy
DOGKU, by Andrew Clements
SONG OF THE WATER BOATMAN, by Joyce Sidman
A MIRROR TO NATURE: POEMS ABOUT REFLECTION, by Jane Yolen
And, to encourage your children to try writing poems of their own:
READ A RHYME, WRITE A RHYME, by Jack Prelutsky
Have fun exploring poetry with your kids!