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How do you cover poetry with your children? How do teachers engage children in poetry?

(31 Posts)
spookysal Wed 07-Nov-12 11:07:11

I recently bought 'Where my wellies take me' by Michael and Claire Morpurgo, which is a beautiful book.

It includes poetry and I am wondering how to cover this with 5yo dd1. She won't understand a lot of it but do I just read it to anyway? Will she find it boring? How can I engage her in it?

Would appreciate any advice and suggestions. Or just experiences on how your dc react to poetry.

BlueyDragon Sun 25-Nov-12 04:49:19

Nonsense poetry works really well here: Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll and Spike Milligan are all favourites. My 5 year old DD really enjoys the nonsense element. Her class teacher used "The Ning Nang Nong Song" as part of their phonics teaching which I thought was really good. Julia Donaldson, Dr Seuss, Giles Andrae, Hairy Mclary also go down well here, as does Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes, although it helps if they know the fairy story versions first!

DD was bringing home some poetry reading books from school and found them more tricky than story books, I think because it's more difficult to get the narrative and the metre from a poem until you can scan read.

FWIW, I learnt a lot of poetry at school from an early age and whilst I loathed some of it at the time (don't ask me to recite "Daffodils" by Wordworth ever, even though I still can, bloody wandering lonely as a cloud) I love the space it takes up in my head now. Helps hugely with dealing with Shakespeare later, too. The bits I loved were the fun, nonsense bits and I reckon that's the key.

cashmere Sun 25-Nov-12 04:29:38

Hairy Mclarey- and make up your own dog names and what they do eg 'Spotty legs likes eating eggs' 'Tinker toes, sniffs with his nose' etc- you can help with the 2nd bit. Maybe draw pics of the dogs.

Dr Seuss- read and add your own rhyming words to the list eg Knox, box, fox, pox, socks, shocks. Do in a funny way.

Never use a knife and fork

First poems

ISingSoprano Thu 22-Nov-12 19:00:48

My dd was given a treasury of poems as a Christening present. She loved choosing poems from it for her bedtime story. In fact we used it so much I have often bought the same book for other children.

Tgger Thu 22-Nov-12 18:54:38

A A Milne "When we are Very Young" and then "Now we are Six"- just bought these for my just turned 4 and just turned 6 year old. Mostly because I have fond childhood memories of both smile. Apart from that lots of picture books are rhyming, Julia Donaldson the obvious choice, but Commotion in the Ocean, trying to think of others but can't for the moment!

I would second the Kaye Umansky books, The Spooks Step Out and The Empty Suit of Armour. DS just 6 can read them himself but enjoys me reading them to him too.

I think you can do two things, read them whatever you like, whether they understand it or not, just the sound of something you enjoy will be engaging, rich vocabularly etc etc. Then if you read easier, more child friendly books you can get them to join in a bit more- DD loves filling in gaps for example, I'll read the line but leave the last word for her to fill in. (she can't read, she remembers).

timtam23 Mon 19-Nov-12 22:31:40

Just noticed the Hilda Boswell poetry book I linked to is priced at £54!! they are available for much less elswhere - a few pounds only.

timtam23 Mon 19-Nov-12 22:29:33

The Jumblies by Edward Lear is a fantastic poem to read aloud, I was fascinated by it as a young child - we had it in a gorgeous old book with lovely illustrations by Hilda Boswell but I recently found a modern copy of the poem with equally lovely illustrations

The Hilda Boswell treasuries are fantastic if you can get hold of them on Ebay or Amazon (hardback copies date from the late 1960s so they are often a bit battered but wonderful poems & illustrations)

drjohnsonscat Sun 18-Nov-12 20:56:04

I had 'I like this poem' as a child and although I still have it, it is falling to bits because I read it to death. I showed it to DD who is 6 and she loved it so have just bought another copy. She's fascinated by the comments from the children who contributed although some of them were clearly actually written by pushy parents

We still read loads of nursery rhymes (for my 3yo) and they both love A A Milne and Spike Milligan.

Harryc Fri 09-Nov-12 14:58:25

For more challenging verse set to rhyme and pictures, Friesops Fables by Julian Defries is set out in the belief that earlyreaders can take in and appreciate three syllable words. One of the stories is an analogy of a business panda seeking to ‘corner the market’ in bamboo, comparing him to the power hungry, wealth obsessed, businessmen we are all too familiar with. Very relevant to today’s world.
However If you want Cat Hat Mat Sat Then this is not for you.
See the narration via link below.

FireOverBabylon Fri 09-Nov-12 14:47:06

We have Noisy Poems, which focus on rhythm and repetition rather than the words - there's a poem which replicates the noise of a train going along. DS loved it until he fell off the bed dancing to the Jazz Man poem and got stuck between the bed and the wall!

We also have the owl and the pussycat and just offer it as one of his bedtime stories. DS loves it and finishes off the lines.

ArbitraryUsername Fri 09-Nov-12 14:34:09

Loads of picture books are poetry. Just because it doesn't look hard or stuffy or boring (or wherever else people seem to think 'real' poetry is), doesn't mean it's not poetry. Dr Seuss is definitely poetry, as is most Julia Donaldson, and loads of other stuff you've probably been reading for years. The reason poetry is so great (and common) in picture books is because they're designed to be read aloud to children and all the texture of poetry works so well read aloud.

EcoLady Fri 09-Nov-12 14:10:58

Just read poems and enjoy them!

Online is good for hearing poets perform their own work.
Michael Rosen is fabulous. Had him for an Inset Day and he was sooooo inspiring. Also try the Children's Poetry Archive

One of my DCs' favourites

TheMysteryCat Thu 08-Nov-12 23:03:24

Murray Lachlan young does great poetry for kids- live shows and online. There's also a guy who does stand up comedy and poetry for kids. James... Something! Eek sorry! Can't quite remember.

R2PeePoo Thu 08-Nov-12 22:57:50

TheMysteryCat - Not met anyone else who knows that one! My dad was a huge Robert Service fan and used to read poems to us as bedtime stories when my mum was out.

I agree with helping speech and memory. I find it very difficult to read badly written books, as there is a cadence in well written prose that I can almost feel as I read. Badly written prose disrupts this flow so badly that I can't concentrate on the story. I find I can also get a real sense of how to place words so they make sense and almost sing to me. I can't rest until I find the word that fits.

Its also very useful for making mnemonics to remember important pieces of information and I find that the patterns I can see in books make it easier to remember where certain pieces of information can be found.

DS demands two or three impromptu poem/songs every bedtime. He provides the subjects so they can be very random. They also aren't masterpieces but definitely capture the children's attention and often DD shouts through a suggestion for a rhyme when I get stuck.

This is DD's favourite version of Scarborough Fair, I forgot to link to it above. There is also a lot of good poetry slam type stuff on Youtube, but I am trying to find one suitable to play to DD. My favourite is this one by Katie Makkai

exoticfruits Thu 08-Nov-12 22:49:43

I do it automatically with babies-things like 'this little piggy' or 'the Grand Old Duke of York' with actions and it just goes on from there.

TheMysteryCat Thu 08-Nov-12 22:35:29

Back of the bar in a solo game sat dangerous dan mcgrew
And watching his game was his Lady Luck, the lady that's known as Lou.

I still remember that poem from my childhood too!

I read poetry and recite to my Ds all the time. So many children's books are poems... Hairy maclary and the Julia Donaldson stories. There's lots of collections of illustrated poems for children as well. I believe it massively helps with speech and memory and it's a great pleasure to me.

BrittaPerry Thu 08-Nov-12 22:33:47

I also encourage my 5yo dd to recite poems from memory to help with public speaking. But then I am weird :-)

vesela Thu 08-Nov-12 22:29:20

exoticfruits - "What shall we do about poor little Tigger?" was my first poem!

Lavender's Blue is a good nursery rhyme book.

R2PeePoo Thu 08-Nov-12 22:26:31

Music is good for getting a sense of pace and rhythm and how to put words together poetically as well. Obviously have to choose certain types of music! My DCs love Nellie the Elephant for example and also things like Scarborough Fair.

DD likes funny poems like 'The Big fat cow that goes kapow' and the 'seriously silly rhymes' series by Laurence Anholt. Kaye Umansky wrote a couple of longer rhyming stories as well 'The Spooks Step Out' and 'The Empty Suit of Armour' are two that my two particularly enjoy. They also like it when I sing them made up songs and rhymes, usually about poo!

My dad had three poems that he had obviously learnt by heart at some point and they called to him in some way as he would repeat them all the time. Albert and the Lion, The Shooting of Dan McGrew and The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God. I still remember as a child being thoroughly moved and creeped out by the last one, even now the first line brings back a massive wave of nostalgia and sadness (at the story, my dad is still alive!).

I think if you tune in to what your DD is interested in and naturally appeals to her then you will have much more success.

exoticfruits Thu 08-Nov-12 22:12:54

If you start with nursery rhymes when babies they grow up enjoying poems.

BrittaPerry Thu 08-Nov-12 21:51:34

Dd1 could recite The Owl And The Pussycat before she was three, and I would say most kids could manage it. All it is s a long nursery rhyme.

BrittaPerry Thu 08-Nov-12 21:49:57

Start with nursery rhymes, read poems like The Owl and The Pussycat and A Bed In Summer, give them books of poetry to read and so on.

She will already be familiar with poetry, at least the simple rhyming kind. If you want to instil a love of it, just keep reading :-)

vesela Thu 08-Nov-12 21:44:15

Just read it - plus try some very short and funny rhymes that she'll be able to remember, like "As I was going up the stair, I met a man who wasn't there etc. There are lots like that in The Puffin Book of Fantastic First Poems.

Didn't realise I Like This Poem was still in print! That's a good book, because under every poem the child who sent it in (they'll all be our age now...) says why they like it.

Also Peacock Pie.

exoticfruits Thu 08-Nov-12 07:35:23

Lots of books have poems and rhymes in them e.g Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Allan and Janet Ahlberg are great.

exoticfruits Thu 08-Nov-12 07:33:47

I don't think that you are going to be successful if you see it as 'something to cover'- children are quick to recognise anything that it supposed to be 'worthy' and resist! Go to the library and let her pick a book - read a few in the library and get her hooked. They are great fun and I have never known a child not like them and they generally have lovely illustrations.

thezoobmeister Thu 08-Nov-12 07:23:56

You don't need to cover poetry, just read it to her! Practice your reading out loud voice, put lots of expression into it and try to get the rhythms right - that's what helps kids appreciate poetry even if they don't understand everything.

Roger McGough is wonderful for kids, I started reading him to my DD aged 4 and she loves poetry.

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