How to teach your child to write poetry

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With the fun tips in this article, your child will be writing his own poems like a pro!

You might find this an unusual question, but has it ever occurred to you to teach your child how to  write poetry?  By doing this you are actually helping him to develop a range of learning skills, some of which may have never crossed your mind.

Poetry,

  • is a fun and wonderful way for children to express their emotions and feelings;
  • teaches them the meanings of words and sentences;
  • helps them expand their vocabulary;
  • teaches them the beauty of language;
  • teaches them rhythm;
  • teaches them how to write concisely and cleverly;
  • helps improve their memory as they willingly memorise their creation to proudly share with friends;
  • imparts confidence and voice modulation skills through narration to others;
  • helps them develop and maintain their attention span;
  • teaches them forms of linguistic expression such as similes, alliteration and onomatopoeia;
  • due to the above factors (and more), assists them immensely with other forms of written work, including essays and comprehension.

So now that we have your attention, here's how you can help teach your child to write poetry at home:

1. It doesn't have to be Shakespeare

Kids respond best to activities that are fun and silly, so incorporate these aspects when teaching them how to write poetry too. Take a popular poem, such as Mary Had a Little Lamb, and encourage your child to make it funny by playing around with the words and changing them.

For example:

Mary had a little lamb, she fitted it with a saddle

She rode that little lamb each time

She wanted to catch cattle!

You could also read a book together such as Green Eggs and Ham (Dr Seuess) which teaches rhyming and poetry in a really fun(ny) way.

2. Read together

There are some really good poetry books out there for kids that are not just fun reading together but also show your child that poetry is not limited to just one style, tone or kind of language.

Once you've selected a few books, read them aloud with your child. Point out to him where each sentence stops and a new line starts, and what he thinks the meaning of the poem is. Get him to clap along to the rhythm as you read aloud.

After you've finished reading, encourage him to draw a picture about the poem and what he thought it meant.

Here are some poetry book recommendations to get you started: Marsupial Sue; Quick as a Cricket; When We Were Very Young (Winnie the Pooh); Revolting Rhymes.

3. Poetry through music

Sing your child's favourite song together and then ask him to write down the lyrics. Point out to him that when you take away the music, it is now a poem but the moment you add a tune... voila, it is a song!

Next, encourage him to write his own poem/song and have fun coming up with a tune together for it. Don't forget to teach your child to use adjectives to make words more descriptive and interesting.

Let nature inspire poetry in your little one.

4. Go on a poetry walk

Nature inspired some of the world's best poets, such as W.B Yeats (I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud) and there's plenty there to inspire your budding young poet, too!

Go on a walk to the beach or park (armed with a notebook and pen of course). Stop at certain points and ask your child to write a line or two about what he observes. For example, if you are at the beach, then your child could write about the sparkling waves, or fluffy clouds. At the park, he could write about busy bees or pretty flowers.

When you go home, encourage your child to string the lines together and almost magically, he will create a poem!

5. Introduce different styles

There are many types of poetry, ranging from sonnets and limericks, to haikus and acrostic poems.

An acrostic poem is a fun way to encourage your child to write poetry. All he has to do is make sure the first letter of each line will spell out his name, when read from top to bottom. Haikus are great from preschoolers due to their concise nature (three lines, five words/seven words/ five words) and older children might like experimenting with a format such as the diamante (a seven line poem shaped like a diamond).

Mums and dads, we hope the tips in the article bring your little poet plenty of inspiration and guidance to create beautiful poetry. Don't forget to share his or her creations with us by posting them below!

 

Language Development Toddler