The Importance Of Poetry For Children

‘Giving children access to a wide variety of poetry experiences is essential. It
has long been accepted practice that children’s own writing should be interleaved
with their reading of poetry. There are dangers of falling into habitual-teaching
patterns here and ‘creative writing’ is both an uncomfortable phrase and an easy
victim. Yet, in recent years, there have been many publications which have shown
how the disciplined, imaginative play of creative writing can produce remarkable
results and develop children’s command of language. Encouraging pupils to respond
to poems in a variety of ways – live readings, tape-recordings. displays and so on helps to demystify the experience; pupils should be offered the chance to
experiment, to play with the words, sounds and shapes of poems, in the same way
that they play with paints and materials in an art lesson.

Starting Young

Before children even start school parents can expose children to poetry by reading nursery rhymes, listening to nursery rhymes and singing along to them and clapping out the rhythm. Being exposed to rhymes motivates children to learn to read, builds phonemic awareness, vocabulary, fluency, expression and writing.

At a later stage it helps with spelling, because they see patterns in the rhyming words and helps to understand phonics. Talking about simple rhymes and poems encourages discussion and opinions.

Older Children And Teenagers

Poetry gives all kids an outlet for sharing their thoughts, ideas, and feelings — especially tweens and teens.

Poetry helps to build social and emotional learning at a time when young people are learning about themselves and discovering their own feelings and forming their own opinions. It is good to discuss with others what a poem says to them, and learn why certain poems resonate with them. This can lead to them writing their own poetry which can be an emotional outlet, and help mental well-being.

As William Wordsworth said:

Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity. 

4 thoughts on “The Importance Of Poetry For Children”

  1. Yes, and Double Yes. When I was teaching I always read to the children (all grade levels) and I would read poetry. Silly ones and classic ones. Some we memorized and when walking in the hallway we would recite the poem, which cut down on many behavior problems. I still read poetry today and some are children’s poems. Fun!

  2. One of my favorite poets for children was peace advocate, Mattie Stepanek, who died of muscular dystrophy just one month shy of age 14. His voice is missed.

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