Monday, April 1, 2013

Celebrate Poetry Month!

April is National Poetry Month, which is a great excuse for you share the wonders and joys of poetry with your children. Exploring various forms of poetry with your kids is a valuable way to get them talking and thinking about imagery, figurative language, rhyme, and meter. The cool thing is, you don't even have to mention those fancy, technical words when talking about poetry. Kids will often pick up on those things themselves without realizing it.

Here are some ways you can explore poetry with your children this month:

  • Read lots of poetry, in different forms. Pick up a poetry book or a rhyming picture book to read at bed time. Poetry anthologies are good resources because they often have a variety of poetic forms to choose from. Nonsense rhymes and limericks can be fun to start with, but don't be afraid to wade out a little deeper and read some haiku or free verse. 
  • Encourage your independent readers to read novels in verse, such as LOVE THAT DOG by Sharon Creech or MAY B. by Caroline Starr Rose. For teenagers, I recommend SHARK GIRL by Kelly Bingham and OUT OF THE DUST by Karen Hesse.
  • Write poetry together. One thing I did with my children when they were younger was to change the words of children's songs, such as Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star or Jingle Bells. They might also enjoy writing list poems, like Shel Silverstein's Sick or Jack Prelutsky's It's Raining Pigs and Noodles
  • Make up tongue twisters. Doing this can not only be fun and hilarious, but also gets your kids practicing alliteration (puffy pandas paddle in puddles).
  • Have a poetry night at your house. Encourage your kids (and you and your spouse) to choose a poem (or poems) to read aloud or memorize a poem to recite. Make it a real celebration complete with party snacks. This could be a way to end poetry month with flair!
Later this month, I will talk specifically about different forms of poetry as well as some fun ways to blend poetry and art. Stay tuned!

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