Reading poetry with kids can be a joyful experience, but first you have to get your littles interested. It can be hard, especially since we mamas often cringe at the thought of it.
Poetry is no longer as popular a form of writing as it once was. Hundreds of years ago, when not only were books inaccessible but literacy was a skill for only the wealthy (and predominantly male), it was easier to remember historical and other facts if they were set to rhythm and/or rhyme. People passed down songs, poems, chants, riddles, and other verse as a way to keep their histories intact and their culture united.
Flash forward a few hundred years to when books and literacy became common and reading was the most popular pastime of the age. Good verse became a competition (luckily for us) and the 19th and early 20th century produced some of the most profound poets in history. These brilliant men and women language as a tool to express emotion that might not be polite to express in society, and they spurred each other to write more and to hone a craft that has since fallen out of favor.
I just don’t get why it’s done so.
Because poetry has become a thing we briefly study in school and then often leave behind, it has become harder to understand. Using figurative language? Understanding meter? Carefully choosing alliteration? Not things the average mama worries about too much in the face of All The Other Things.
But you can make poetry fun for your littles and instill in them a love that will last their lifetimes, not just until they skate past it for the last time in college. What are the best ways to do that?
Getting your young readers hooked on a good story doesn’t have to be too difficult, but sometimes comprehending the story isn’t enough. Sometimes comprehending the meaning behind the story requires us to think on a deeper level. For me, those are the best kinds of books.
One of my favorites in that respect is Animal Farm by George Orwell.
Basically a political treatise disguised as a children’s fable, Animal Farm has all the things. And since it does, it might take a little work to get your readers thinking about it and understanding it the way they should.
Don’t worry. I got you. But first let’s talk about some of the key strategies for reading comprehension that you should implement no matter what you’re reading.
Looking for a perfect book that celebrates spring and Earth Day and Arbor Day and all the things?
Yeah yeah, Because of an Acorn by Lola M. Schaefer is totally that book. With sparse language and lovely illustrations, this book explores how important each part of an ecosystem is, starting with the acorn from which a tree can grow. Because of the tree a bird can nest and spread seeds and the seeds become flowers. In turn, the flowers become fruit that entice chipmunks to feed a snake. The snakes become prey to a hawk which guards the tree until another acorn falls and a new tree is born. Eventually there is a forest.
The back of this book also has more detailed explanations of white oak trees, acorns, ecosystems and food chains, and even what kids can do to help support the environment. My crush is vast.
Maybe it’s the Irish in me. St. Patrick’s Day always gets me excited. I love the idea of Leprechauns and pots of gold and the rainbows that spring brings. So when I’m preparing for the day, I do my best to find fun things for us to do as a family.
Need some ideas?
I got you. Yeah yeah.