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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.
1. Poetry Books “with a Story”
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
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
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
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.
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 UsThis 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 PoemEven 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!
More Poetry for Kids
From my blog: