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Author Topic: Poetry? Is it important to teach or would you forget it all together?  (Read 6377 times)
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« on: January 27, 2012, 04:19:36 AM »

I was on the excellence in writing website and they had a whole curriculum dedicated to poetry? I hated poetry and never saw the point to it but was wondering what your thoughts are and are you planning on teaching it?


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« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2012, 10:02:57 AM »

Well, if you mean am I using a curriculum to teach poetry, then no, I am not teaching Ella poetry - in the same sense that I am not "teaching" her language arts, grammar, punctuation, reading comprehension, etc. (Well, actually, I once tried to get her to do a reading comprehension workbook and that experiment failed spectacularly - not because she couldn't do it, but because she was bored out of her wits.) At this point in time, I feel that there is no need for me to get a curriculum/workbook to specifically teach her these things because I feel that her time would be better spent just reading lots and lots of good books and good poetry and it would be more natural and enjoyable to learn these things this way. In the long run, this approach may not be enough and I may eventually need to use a more structured approach to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks, but this would probably not be necessary in the next couple of years at least.

That being said, I do think it is important for Ella to read and listen to poetry. The reasons are the same as why I teach her art and art appreciation. I want her not only to be able to use language but also to appreciate the beauty of it, to have a good sense of rhyme and rhythm, to be able to marvel at the clever turn of a phrase or the witty use of a metaphor, and to appreciate the beauty of the world around her. I would love for her to grow up with the mind of a scientist and the soul of a poet.

And so, of course, we have a bigger-than-usual collection of poetry books in both English and Chinese, and she probably knows more Chinese Tang and Song Dynasty poems than the average elementary student. Of all her poetry books, these are her all-time favorites:

Poetry Speaks to Children:

A Child's Book of Poems:

A Child's Garden of Verses:

If you want something a little more advanced than the usual children's collection, try A Child's Introduction to Poetry:

And, my personal favorites, because they combine fantastic poetry, observations of nature, science lessons, and clever riddles are the books by Joyce Sidman. We have collected almost everyone of her books and Ella never tires of them!

Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow:

If someone else is interested in a list of our Chinese poetry book collection, I will post it for you. In the meantime, I would love to get some good recommendations for children's poetry books in French and Spanish, preferably original ones and not translations from English works. Thanks!

« Last Edit: January 27, 2012, 10:04:28 AM by aangeles » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2012, 10:28:11 AM »

AAngeles, loved your list, thank you!

And I agree with you that poetry appreciation is important part of language development. I personally loved poetry, and I attribute it largely to the fact that my grandmother read poetry ( classical unabridged versions of Russian Great Poetry pieces) since my birth. As long as I remember myself I was able to quote classical poetry pieces. I think it helped with my language development overall.

As far as special curriculum or course, we are not doing it, at least not yet. What we do is reading classical poetry pieces -- both in English and Russian. I also had some audio recordings that I would play from time to time when we drive.

Just recently we got A Child's Garden of Poetry DVD, and Evangeline loved it! Here is the booklet from it with the list of poems used:

We also do some rhyming games, not much. For now it is mainly me finding rhyming words or sounding up rhyming rhythms and patterns, with no pressure, just doing it briefly here and there, as part of other activities.

So that is what we are doing.

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« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2012, 10:37:17 AM »

I do think poetry is important for children. Nursery rhymes are cited in many articles as useful in teaching language as well as rhyming words, rhythm and fluency when reading and in increasing vocabulary. I also read another article that said children should be exposed to all different types of writing as it helps with comprehension because different writing styles and vocabulary is used in newspapers to fiction, in non-fiction and poetry - every type of writing will have a different style that children need to learn.

My daughter is 4 years old and I do read poetry to her though I have not tried to teach it to her - I just read it and she enjoys it. I think a lot of the teaching destroys the fun element of poetry. My own teacher in grade 11 decided we knew enough of the mechanics of poetry not to do it with us and this worked great for the class I was in - we could read it and enjoy it and when they asked us about metaphors and similies and meaning in the exams we were all quite capable of making it up and getting it right without having studied it at school.

At the moment I am reading the book The Llama who had no pyjama to my daughter. Another way of teaching poetry would be to teach songs as most songs are a form of poetry.


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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2012, 02:04:26 PM »

These look interesting:

I might just get her the Chinese one because she LOVES making up new lyrics to Chinese children's songs but is hampered by her limited ability to write those complicated Chinese characters.


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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2012, 11:52:49 PM »

I have two children's poetry books and I try to read one everyday but I have let it slide for the last while. This thread is a timely reminder - thanks Kimba15.

Just recently we got A Child's Garden of Poetry DVD, and Evangeline loved it! Here is the booklet from it with the list of poems used:

Skylark, thank you for the link. I will print it and add to our collection.

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« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2012, 03:44:36 PM »


Thank you so much for sharing your list.

I was looking for chinese poetry resource to teach my son and I stumble to this thread.
I am interested to learn from you how you teach Ella Chinese poetry and how you fit into her schedule?
Do you let her listen to Tang Dynasty poems /Chinese poems or recite ? Is much more difficult to read chinese poems and also explaining the meaning. Plus the vocabulary for poems are much more difficult to understand. 
Do the kids need to know certain amount of chinese characters before we introduce Chinese poems? 

Can you share with me your list of Chinese poetry book/CDs and methods ?

Thank you very much  and you are always an inspiration! ( it really motivate me want to do more whenever I see Ella's progress in your video)

Have a wonderful weekend.



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« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2012, 05:09:25 PM »

Hi everyone!

How are you?

Kimba - did you read the preview pdf?

I purchased this for my children because we memorize Qur'an in Classical Arabic and the English translations, and wanted a complimentary program for the English language.

and this is another article that you may find insightful:

In Defense of Memorization
Michael Knox Beran

I do know that with regard to Arabic, those who memorize the entire Qur'an, verbatim with understanding (literal and very deep meanings, and understand grammar), are far better orators than those who do not.  And I am sure the same applies to English.  Also, in this great book:

Lend Me Your Ears: All You Need to Know about Making Speeches and Presentations [Paperback]
Max Atkinson (Author)

Dr. Max Atkinson, Professor of Communication, discuss the lost art of rhetoric in Part III, which is aided by being familiar with literature.  Learning and memorizing poetry would be a great place to start. 

« Last Edit: February 11, 2012, 05:13:49 PM by Ayesha Nicole » Logged

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