Using Poetry to Teach Reading Skills

Why use poetry? Children love rhythm whether it is in songs, words or tapping on a table or desk. Home schooling parents and teachers using word play with children every single day in one form or another are boosting children’s learning power, child development and natural curiosity.

Young children are highly motivated to read and hear poetry in any form. Choose poetry books that are adequate for the age of the child, books that are less threatening for beginning readers with a humble amount of text.

Poetry can be predictable and is easily modeled by children. More importantly, it develops oral language. Short stanzas encourage children to re-read again and again. Repetitive reading provides consistency allowing young children to read without really reading.

Poetry is entertaining and informative. It instills a love of reading at an early age which is necessary for later educational success. If the reading process is pleasurable, children become self-disciplined in searching for additional reading material. What a joyful feeling it is to witness a young child searching for a new book to read!

Make poetry and learning come alive by acting out parts of the entire poem. Children absolutely love this activity! Assign one line to one child, another line to another child, one line to the parent or teacher, etc. Play the part by using your body and gestures to act out the words as the words are spoken. Move around the room using your arms, legs and hands. Ask children to make up their own words to a poem and act them out. Soon, children will be initiating this activity during play time, turning play time into learning time!

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