Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Children and Poetry

Our kids love poetry.  I have been reading it to them since they were wee babies.  Our favorite first book of poetry was A Small Child's Book of Cozy Poems.  I can now recite nearly all of the poems in that book from memory, having read them so often.  Another well-loved compilation is  Favorite Poems Old and New.   The kids also beg for the poems of A.A. Milne in When We Were Very Young, and Now We are Six.  I keep these two in our morning time area, and when we are done reading our other poetry they will often grab them, push them in my face and say, "can you please just read one?"  Of course we are a bit partial to British authors and British wit, so you may not share our fondness.  It's a bit of an acquired taste, although very much worth acquiring.

For "morning time" I follow the Ambleside rotation of poets to make sure I don't miss anything good and to keep us focused.  I also like spending 12-weeks per poet because it really helps us learn that poet's particular style and learn to recognize it when we hear it later.    Whenever possible I will try to get the Poetry For Young People collection of our term's poet.  I like the layout and pictures in these books and the kids enjoy reading from them themselves.  They aren't monstrous anthologies and you don't have to sift through to find selections that would appeal to children.

We always read our poetry out-loud and all together.  Of course they all will end up hearing Emily Dickinson five times, but that's ok.  There's nothing wrong with memorizing "Bee! I'm expecting you! from hearing it so many times.

While we are not on our regular school time poetry reading schedule in the summer, we do still enjoy poetry in the form of some new favorite videos.  Yes, I did say videos.  But you know that if I am recommending movies for educational purposes that they have to be good.  I stumbled across these Classical Baby movies recently and fell in love.  They are slow, calming, have beautiful music and really capture the kid's attention without being silly and crazy.   Our favorite's are the poetry DVD and the DVD for older children entitled A Child's Garden of Poetry.  We all like watching these, even Claire, and I think they are lovely for a hot summer afternoon when it is just to stifling to play outside.

Here are a few clips to check out if you would like.  These clips don't show it, but in between is poem is a short vignette with young children talking about poetry and why they like it.  They are absolutely priceless and completely adorable!

I hope you will consider adding poetry to your days as well if you don't already!

2 comments:

  1. Very nice videos. I really liked the one called 'Brother'. Poetry is something I never really appreciated, but I guess it is never too late--right? Your children are very fortunate that you have introduced it to them at a young age. Love your attitude.

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    1. "Brother" is a favorite around here too. It's cute. You are right and it is never too late to learn to appreciate poetry. However, I have found that it is better appreciated when read aloud. I never could get into it myself when I would just read it alone.

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