Ahhhh….. spring! Even though we had a mild winter, it was still exhilarating to have the first day of spring arrive. After a winter with little precipitation, we hope April showers will bring those May flowers. At HOD, April brings something just as lovely and captivating as flowers - it brings an abundance of POEMS. That’s because April is National Poetry Month at the H. Olive Day School. We will highlight and celebrate poetry every day for an entire month!
We all know that children love poetry. That may be due, in part, to the fact that nursery rhymes, a form of poetry, is often the first literature read or recited to children. Or, it could just be that poetry is fun - it’s fun to listen to, it’s fun to recite and it’s fun to write! Fun aside, poetry helps children develop a variety of skills that help them become better listeners, speakers, readers and writers.
Poetry highlights not only the sound but also the rhythm of language. It celebrates the importance of each word and helps develop an appreciation of the lilt and flow of language in a way that narrative writing can’t. The foundation of learning to read is based on a child hearing the sounds and rhythms of language and being able to manipulate them. According to Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell, early literacy experts, “When you immerse your students in rich, lively poetry, you introduce them to intense, concise, skillfully crafted language.” They urge elementary schools to include poetry in their primary language and literacy curriculum for five important reasons. Through listening to and reading poetry children: 1) Appreciate the sound and imagery of language 2) Understand and view themselves and their world in new ways 3)Become enriched as they discover words, sound and rhythm in unique and creative ways 4) Are intrigued trying to find meaning 5) Capture the essence of meaning in the sparest of language. At HOD, we concur with the experts!
All of us had an assignment at one time or another during our school years to memorize a poem. Not all of us enjoyed that assignment, but we now know that listening to and memorizing poetry can enhance concentration and focus, help build auditory and visual memory skills and develop self discipline and stamina. (If you have those skills now, thank the teachers who gave those assignments!) Since poetry conveys a lot of meaning and emotion in a few words, it also enhances writing skills. The writer of poetry needs to use precise and meaningful language and become a ‘wordsmith’ in order to express thoughts in a succinct, yet appealing way. Writing poetry enhances our overall writing skills by developing vocabulary and ‘voice’. We learn to appreciate that voice and develop our own voice by listening to a wide variety of poems.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of poetry is that it makes children more aware of the world around them and more attuned to their own feelings. It tunes them in to the details of their environment, sparks their interest in it and helps them become more keen observers of it. Poetry can also provide a very effective and personal vehicle for children to express their inner thoughts and feelings and unleash the imagination.
Visualization is another important literacy skill that is nurtured by poetry. Good readers and writers create pictures in their mind. These images help us to stay engaged and comprehend more fully when reading. Children use their own schema to connect with the text. Good readers use all of their senses to create a picture or even a movie in their minds as they read. Poetry is the perfect genre to ignite those visualization skills.
National Poetry Month is a perfect time to inspire children with poetry. During the month, HOD will have daily ‘poetry pauses’ when we will take time out of our busy days to listen to and appreciate a poem or two. We will also “keep a poem in our pockets” to share with friends and family. We hope that you find some time in your busy schedule to pause and enjoy some poetry with your family! You can start with Keep a Poem in Your Pocket! Look below for some links to poetry sources. Happy Poetry Month! Warm Regards, Linda Balfour, Principal
Keep A Poem In Your Pocket By Beatrice Schenk de Regniers
Keep a poem in your pocket And a picture in your head And you'll never feel lonely At night when you're in bed. The little poem will sing to you The little picture bring to you A dozen dreams to dance to you At night when you're in bed. So - - Keep a picture in your pocket And a poem in your head And you'll never feel lonely At night when you're in bed.