A debut book of poetry is the perfect way to celebrate Poetry Month (April) with your children. Open their ears to the beauties of the forest with these read aloud poems- do check out the video trailer near the bottom:
It’s still April, so it’s still poetry month, and my last post was inspired by Lewis Carroll’s “The Walrus and the Carpenter”- which got me to thinking about the joy of nonsense poetry. This genre is surprisingly overlooked when it comes to children’s literature and teaching children an appreciation for the beauty of language. And having good laughs and good fun while they do it.
Did you know that the word ‘chortle’ is a nonsense word made up by Lewis Carroll by combining chuckle and snort? So don’t dismiss these nonsense poems as, well, nonsense.
It’s all about the power of language – to create a picture in the minds eye, to stir the imagination to make sense where there appears to be none. Listening, and processing the words. All good skills to build in our children.
All of which makes a nicely illustrated book of nonsense poetry a unique and thoughtful gift for one of the many birthday parties your child goes to. Or add it to your own child’s library to be enjoyed together. It’s not often that reading together can be this much silly fun.
It’s poetry month. I’ve recently written about literature that can interest boys. And one of my very favorite childhood memories addresses both of these subjects.
My parents couldn’t read Longfellow’s Hiawatha to me enough. This is poetry that is meant to be read aloud. It’s trite, but the use of language here is truly music to the ears. The addition of the beautiful sound of Longfellow’s words adds a whole new dimension to reading aloud to your child. It offers a whole new way of appreciating reading and stories and literature. Giving your child this extra dimension to grab onto as they learn literacy is always beneficial.
Longfellow’s Hiawatha is an epic home, meaning there’s a real story here that the kids can sink their teeth into. It’s a story about Native Americans, a subject kids naturally seem to be interested in. Like all epic poems, Hiawatha is about conflict and good versus evil. In other words, the subject matter here will keep the interest and attention of boys as well as girls.
Since we’re already on the subject of my childhood favorites, I have to recommend the other book of poetry that I adored as a child: Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses. My version was beautifully illustrated with pen and ink drawings that really brought the short children’s poems to life for me.
I recommend both Hiawatha and A Child’s Garden of Verses, not just for other kids birthday gifts but also for your own home library. They will give much joy, and of course the gift of literacy.
Aside from the fundamental beauty of poetry, did you know that teachers use poetry because some kids really respond to the rhyme and rhythm of poetry, and this helps them get involved in reading and writing. And the very act of creating rhymes is a vocabulary expander. SO- poetry is good stuff for kids.
Scholastic’s webpage includes 3 workshops for different aged kids to help them create their own poems, and learn some poet tricks from actual poetry writers. The kids can also listen to the authors read their poems aloud, and hopefully be inspired to write their own.
These exercises will obviously help kids in school, but for those natural born writers these exercises will be fun as well as instructional. Not sure where your child fits? Turn them loose on this site, or explore it together with them, and see where you end up? It’s good exposure even if it doesn’t end up a fit for your child.
But maybe your new poet will write a rhyming card for the next birthday party they go to?