Thursday, April 24, 2014

Recently my 7 year old dropped a statement that surprised me quite a bit. She said, I don’t like poetry. Poetry is boring!
Poetry books for kids who do not like poetry

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I admit that I didn’t see this coming. My daughter is a very fluent reader that uses all her free time reading, and her language is very descriptive. I asked her to “defend” her statement. Here are a few things that she voiced in defense of her opinion of poetry:
  • Poems are short, and they just move from one thing to another.
  • There is no story, it’s all about making words rhyme.
  • We don’t read poems in school.
This last statement also surprised me, and I flashed back to all the “wonderful” second grade Common Core homework and classwork that she brought home this school year. She was right – apparently, in a frantic quest of “reading for facts” poetry essentially disappeared from her second grade classroom. But I cannot say that we slacked on poetry at home – every month I make a point to find poetry books for us to read together. Her statement (ironically, made in April, the poetry month) made me think harder about my poetry book selections and what kinds of poetry my daughter does enjoy.

1. Poetry Books “with a Story”

The Lorax
My first “defense response” to “I hate poetry” statement was mentioning Dr. Seuss. My daughter loves longer Dr. Seuss books, and she immediately agreed that they do have a story.

2. Poems to Act Out

Your Read to Me, I'll Read to You
Another poetry book (and its sequels) that were forever popular in our house is You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You by Mary Ann Hoberman. Smarty enjoyed acting out these poems with me pretending to be characters in these poems. She also enjoyed a collection of Hand Rhymes by Marc Brown, and I have to remind her to pull this collection out when her 3 year old “pseudo brother” (a son of our best friends) will come over again.

3. Jokes and Riddles

Spot the Plot
Smarty has a good sense of humor and enjoys word play. One recent library find that was quite popular was Spot the Plot by J. Patrick Lewis. This is a book of short poems where each poem describes a popular children’s book, and an objective is to guess which book it is. I will definitely make an effort to find more poetry books of this kind.

4. High Interest Topics Poetry

Ancient Greece Poems
We had a mixed success with poems on specific topic. Smarty enjoys history, and she liked Susan Altman’s series Modern Rhymes about Ancient Times, but only when I read them to her. I am under impression that she finds rhymes a distraction rather than help – this is just how her mind works. However, it’s worth a try to find a poetry book on subjects that your child is interested in.

5. Songs

What a Wonderful World
Even a hardcore “poetry hater” probably has favorite songs. Personally, I avoid books that take a song and make a book out of it, because, for once, I cannot sing and, secondly, my daughter does not care for illustrations, she only yearns for a good story, which songs usually don’t really provide. However, many children, especially younger children, will enjoy listening to songs, singing them with their parents and looking at the illustrated lyrics.

Poetry Books that Don’t Work for Us

This discussion with Smarty about poetry made me realize reluctantly that right now she doesn’t quite enjoy poetry collections as much as I do, and she is not at the age where she doesn’t have her own opinions. I am hoping that she will change her mind when she is older, and I am also hoping that she will find teachers later in life that will be able to share their own enjoyment of poetry with her.

Encourage Your Child to Write a Poem

Even though Smarty claims that she doesn’t like poetry, she was excited when I told her about 2014 Children’s Poetry Celebration and Contest, she was very excited. She dived right in and after a couple of revisions came up with her poem. I think it really reflects her thinking
A Poem about Family by Smarty, age 7

Family is great for you,
With love and caring too.
They play all day with you too.
They tickle, they talk,
And they mostly love you
And just like everyone… they poo!
Don’t be shocked. It’s true!

Your Turn

Poetry for kids who don't like poetry
Do you have a poem lover or a poem hater? What do you do to foster love of poetry in your children?

More Poetry for Kids

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Ticia said...

I personally am more of a poem hater. I'm with Smarty, I don't enjoy the randomness of most poems, and the rambling on and on about their feelings. And the descriptions, OH THE DESCRIPTIONS. How many lines to write about a tree?

Now, that said there are some poetry styles I do enjoy. Ballads, poems with a story, or a point, those I enjoy. Of course all of the ones I can think of offhand aren't ones I would recommend to Smarty yet. They were all I read in middle school.
Oh, I do like Lewis Carroll's poetry, and those are random, but they're also stories that amuse me. She might like his stuff for the humor of it.
And to the song subject, there's a great quote from a book I read where the character didn't put much stock in poems, he thought they were incomplete songs. I love songs.....

By contrast, Princess loves poetry. She writes poems, and goes on and on about her feelings. That's when I foist her off on Aunt Tara, who also enjoys a good poem, and let the two of them discuss poetry while I go read a good long novel.
Thus ends my post of a comment to your post :P

Emma @ P is for Preschooler said...

I'm not a big fan of most poems (especially the ones I don't understand!) but I did love Smarty's poem! Maybe she's more of a poem-writer than a poem-reader? ;)

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

Emma loves poetry. My dad used to make up all sorts of poems when I was a kid - he even won a poetry contest once, when I was maybe 4 years old? I fell asleep on the red carpet at the awards ceremony.

I loved the ending of Smarty's poem!

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

I have to say I'm indifferent to poetry. I loved it when I was in school - couldn't get enough - but don't read much in the way of poetry now. Unlike Ticia I adore the poetry books of the Bible, with Ecclesiastes being my big favorite - and I've had the children reading and discussing that this year. But, beyond that we only read poetry as a family when it happens to slip in through picture books...I should probably address that as gap...I'm glad you brought it up.

min said...

No surprise, actually since Smarty Pants is more the logical, no nonsense type of child...even her poem reflects her humor, honesty, and practical nature!

Also, no surprise that K would be the opposite. She loves words...thinks they are beautiful the way they sound and will often tell me so. She uses a great deal of metaphors and similes to describe. Her poems do not always rhyme but they do have a certain rhythm. She's made me appreciate poetry in a new light. I love how she's able to capture a thought, a feeling, and moment so precisely.

Now, only if I can get her to stop saying,"I hate math!"

Carrie said...

We have been enjoying some poetry about bugs and nature, but my daughter has trouble with some of it. Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!

Anonymous said...

Poetry can be really fun for kids, if they give it a chance!
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