“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” – Leonardo da Vinci
Welcome to Five Days of Sharing Poetry with your Kids. Each day this week, starting Monday, I will discuss easy ways to share poetry with your children in an enjoyable way.
Poetry is so often passed over, but the innovative way poets use ordinary language in surprising ways gives the reader a rich and vivid experience that shouldn’t be missed. Just recently, we were reading Gloria Whelan’s The Miracle of Saint Nicholas. In it she wrote, “A question was always on the tip of Alexi’s tongue like a little bird ready to fly.” It might not be the exact quote since we’ve returned the book to the library and I can’t check, but it struck a chord with Bear and she stuck it in the filing cabinet of her brain to share it with me again as I wrote this post. Wondrous similes and metaphors such as this in any kind of writing pull at our imaginations. Sharing poetry with our children is important because as they internalize poetic language, you will start seeing it appear in their writing, making them better writers. And to read poetry aloud is a real pleasure. Think of the shapes of the sounds and the rhythms found in Jabberwocky for example. But really, any poem is enjoyable to perform. Somewhere in our growing up, we may have decided we didn’t like poetry. Perhaps a highschool teacher made us analyze a poem to destruction, or perhaps you analyzed a poem in a way your teacher deemed incorrect. Both those things happened to me and for a long time I couldn’t look at a poem without a bit of bitterness. Our children, on the other hand, are pre-wired to love poetry. Children love rhyme and repetition, and they love language used in humorous ways. Poets like Louis Robert Stevenson or Jack Prelutsky realize this and have written numerous poems that delight children. Just like we have to read aloud tons of great books to develop readers, so we have to read aloud tons of poems to develop writers and individuals who can later appreciate more complicated poetic works. As Andrew Pudewa states, “If children grow up laughing and loving poems, they are much more likely to mature into adults who can pursue and enjoy the classics.”
I know I don’t want my children to feel disheartened about something as beautiful as poetry, so I do try to make poetry an enjoyable time for them. I hope you’ll come away from this series realizing how easy it is to add poetry to your day whether or not you homeschool.
Do you already read poetry to your children? In what special ways do you share poetry with them?