Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April is a very special month in "Bookland"

Before I get into poetry I want to throw out today's first line of a kid's book you may be familiar with.  Can you guess which book?  Here it is.....answer will be published tomorrow.

"Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, 'and what is the use of a book,' thought Alice 'without pictures or conversations?'

                      Here is a cute poem from Gareth Lancaster.  His website for kid's poetry is:


Spring Garden

Jack Frost has upped and gone away,
To his icy summer home.
He stays there whilst the sun is warm,
It's not safe for him to roam.

Now he's left the earth warms up,
And flowers start to grow.
Peeking through the heating soil,
Growing quickly for a show.

Crocuses and Daffodills,
Green shoots poke through the ground.
And with each day as spring returns,
They burst up all around.

When sprng arrives the garden glows,
With yellows, blues and reds.
Stretching in the sunny warmth,
Whilst Jack is safe in bed!
©2003 Gareth Lancaster

Why do kids love poems? In  the spring when you walk through a school yard and the kids are outside playing at recess you can hear the skipping ropes slapping against the pavement and the kids chanting fun rhyming verses to their exercise programme.  The first stories we were told as kids were probably poems.  Rhymes are important to a child's development . Rhymes are important for language development, cognitive development , social /emotional development and physical development.

"Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if children know eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they're four years old, they're usually among the best readers by the time they're eight."  
               (Fox.M. (2009). Reading Magic. San Diego. CA. Harcourt.)

1. Language development makes it easier for kids to learn new words. Reading rhymes aloud or repeating rhymes helps them practice pitch, voice inflection, and volume. It may seem trivial to a grown-up, but it is complex to a child. Practice makes perfect and it's a fun way of doing it.
   "Poetry provides a relaxed and pleasant way for students to practice language skills."
Source: Nancy L. Hadaway. Sylvia M. Vardell and Terrell A. Young. The Reading Teacher Vol.54, No. 8
2. Physical Development - Breath coordination, tongue and mouth movements, are made easier by the musical structure of the rhyme. Rhymes help you understand when to breath and for how long.  These skills are later incorporated into reading prose.
 "Phonemic Awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and use the individual sounds in spoken words."
Source: Helping children understand rhyming is one key skill of phonemic awareness. (Black & Israel, 2005)
3. Children learn that some words are similar in sound but different in meaning. They learn patterns and sequencing.  They have fun memorizing poems. These components are extremely helpful for approaching math and new languages.
4. Social/Emotional Development help kids to become passionate and proficient readers . They discover more about themselves and about their emotions. We want them to establish healthy relationships with other kids and grown ups around them as well.  Rhymes encourage kids' sense of humour, and sharing rhymes with their family creates space for inside jokes and emotional attachment to the stories they read together. When children feel lonely, or need comfort, they can easily recall the rhymes they shared with their parents and feel cherished, if they are not with their family at that particular time.  

Read on and read always!  Be sure to include some poetry reading with your child this month....you both will be smiling.

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