Sunday, July 16, 2006
Jumping in on reading poetry aloud
One of my favorite things about poetry for children is how naturally participatory it is. Or perhaps I should say, how naturally children jump in and participate in reading poetry out loud when you share it with them. Scholar Lissa Paul reminds us that “The history of poetry written for children begins in oral tradition” (in THE NORTON ANTHOLOGY OF CHILDREN’S LITERATURE; THE TRADITIONS IN ENGLISH, 2005, p. 1132) and includes lullabies, baby songs, nursery verse, riddles and wordplay, playground verse, nonsense, and standard poetry collections. Choose a poem, read it out loud, then read it a second time and watch how the children join in, finish a line, or repeat a stanza spontaneously. I particularly like to look for poems that have a repeated word, phrase or line for children to claim as their own. It’s nearly scripted for you then! Some of my favorite examples are:
“Homework, Oh Homework” by Jack Prelutsky from THE NEW KID ON THE BLOCK.
“Things” by Eloise Greenfield from HONEY I LOVE AND OTHER POEMS.
“Look in a Book” by Ivy O. Eastwick in I LIKE IT HERE AT SCHOOL, compiled by Jack Prelutsky.
“If My Hand Didn’t Get So Tired” by Kalli Dakos from DON’T READ THIS BOOK WHATEVER YOU DO!
“The Boa” by Douglas Florian from BEAST FEAST.