If you are a dreamer, come in.
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer...
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire,
For we have some flax golden tales to spin.
Come in! - Shel Silverstein (Where The Sidewalk Ends)
As a child I was an avid poetry reader, specifically the fun and whimsical poems of Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky. I enjoyed the sing-songy nature of Silverstein’s words and the clever stories he would make up with limited phrase. As I grew older, my mother, wanting to encourage my interest in great literature would pay my brother and I, a dollar a poem we memorized and could recite back to her. Looking back, I’m not sure if bribing us with money was the proper approach to get us to appreciate great poetry- but I can say that after many years, I can still recite many of the poems I memorized so long ago and still carry a deep fondness for Frost, Poe, Nash and many other poets because of my introduction to poetry as a child. With April being National Poetry Month, I felt it only right to provide some of my favorite children’s poetry books, links and other essentials so that you too may introduce poetry into the lives of young children (hopefully without the use of monetary bribes). :)
Benefits of Poetry
Poetry is another expressive art form. For children it can open the mind and the soul and help young children to understand the world around them in a different way. Poems are a wonderful way to keep a child interested in stories and to introduce them to new and unique areas of language they may never hear anywhere else. Language like juxtapositions, cadence, irony, figurative description, pattern, repetition and much more.
Poetry also helps develop critical thinking skills in children of all ages.
What Can You do While Reading Poetry with the Children?
When reading poems to children:
1) Dialogue with them,
2) Ask them open-ended questions about the poems you are reading.
3) Help them develop their own story telling skills by asking them "what happens next?"
Poetry fills the spirit and encourages maximum creative expression. It can truly be a joy to bring poetry into the lives of young children.
For a list of websites and quick links to recommended books visit our Literacy and Books Section here!