Saturday, July 23, 2016

Are You Sharing Poetry with Your Young Ones?

In no way shape or form am I an expert or even a connoisseur of poetry. I can't tell you about or name more than a couple of the many forms of poetry, without doing a little research - haiku and limerick are two I know, for example. However, I know what I enjoy when I read and am often inspired to read something aloud to enjoy it more fully. Reading poetry aloud increases the understanding and appreciation of a poem for both the reader and listener.  Give it a try!

I own an old set of Child Craft books, my mom bought them when I was a child. I poured over each volume individually as a child myself and I remember my mom reading to me from them when I was very young. The one I most remember being read to me, was the one filled with poetry for children.

I have and am still trying, on occasion to share a bit of rhythmic and/or rhyming verse with my teen children, usually at times when I have them captive; at the dinner table or while doing homework in a common space in our home. They may roll their eyes and and grin at each other when I do but there are times when a little poetry reading fits the occasion. Something might still sink in and quite possibly bring them a new insight or appreciation of rhythmic verse.

The poem below is delightful and perfect for reading following the common midwest summer experience of discovering a milkweed plant. If you are really lucky, you'll find a beautiful monarch butterfly on the milkweed and you'll be able to turn the experience into a unit study or you and your children will be inspired to write a few summer poems of your own!

Dainty Milkweed Babies

Dainty milkweed babies,
Wrapped in cradles green,
Rocked by Mother Nature,
Fed by hands unseen.

Brown coats have the darlings,
Slips of milky white;
And wings - but that's a secret,
They're folded out of sight.

The cradles grow so narrow, what will the babies do?
They’ll only grow the faster, and look up toward the blue.
And now they’ve found the secret, they’re flying through the air,
They’ve left the cradles empty, - do milkweed babies care?

First two stanzas found in STANDARD CATHOLIC READERS BY GRADES SECOND YEAR by Mary E Doyle. (page 28)
The third stanza not attributed.
If anyone knows, please comment.

Based on personal experience, I have learned that most poetry is best enjoyed by hearing it or reading it out loud. The rhythms and collected together sounds of the words bring new appreciation when heard. Doing a few poetry readings or listening together can be lots of fun.

Enrichment Studies offers excellent resources for engaging children in the arts including poetry. The packages they offer are clear, easy to use and visually appealing. Check out what they have to offer by clicking on the image below.

The book Poetry Speaks to Children is wonderful collection of poetry meant for children that comes with a CD for listening. It includes poems by Jane Yolen, Langston Hughes, Nikki Giovanni and other great wordsmiths. If you don't feel like reading, just listen to a few from the CD together. An excellent activity for a little quiet time on a summer afternoon. 

Available form amazon.

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