Poetry Is Everywhere: Ideas for Encouraging the Poet in your House

Children notice and say some pretty fantastic things as they learn to make sense of the world around them. One of the best ways to help children make meaning of their experiences, while developing literacy skills is to use poetry as a method and means for understanding what they encounter.  

You can build poetry while driving in the car, during bath-time, while on the bus to grandma’s house, or walking through your neighborhood. Poetry is not dependent on paper or pencil (but we do love paper and pencil to practice those writing skills!). A great option is to hit record on your phone and voice record poetry when it happens spontaneously in your day-to-day life. Then have your child write what they said later on.  

Here are some fun ways to start building a culture of poetry in your house. Enjoy and have fun and know that poetry is all around you! 

List Poems (ages 3-8): Pick a topic: Ice Cream, Bugs, Things that Fly, The Color Red, that sort of thing, and make a list of items/things that represent that topic. 
Ice Cream                                      
Rum Raisin
Mint Chocolate
Rocky Road
Cherry Garcia
Bubble Gum

Do you suddenly have a craving? 

Sandwich Poems (ages 3-12): Similar to a list poem, pick a topic, but this time choose description words that describe the topic in meaningful ways to you. Repeat the title of the poem as the last line in the poem: 

Repetition Poems (ages 2-10): Choose your topic. Choose words that you are drawn to or have emotion around to repeat at some point in the poem. 
My Cat
I love my grey haired cat.  
She purrs, purrs, purrs. 
My cat can hide in really small, small, small places. 
She has amber eyes and sharp claws, claws, claws.  

Found Poetry (all ages): This one is my favorite. Find an old book or grab a 50 cent book from your local bookstore.  Take a pencil and have your child circle one word per line from a page in the book. Using a black sharpie, have your child black out the rest of the text. What remains are the words that your child chose which is now a poem that they created! What’s even better is that you can use found poetry to help a child digest difficult concepts depending on the literature you choose to make poems from. For example, if they are having a difficult time with a text they are reading in school, make a copy of a few pages and allow them to explore the text through found poetry.  

For more ideas on Found Poetry: 

·      http://www.creative-writing-now.com/found-poetry.html 

·      http://thewritepractice.com/what-is-found-poetry/

·      http://www.homeschooling-ideas.com/found-poetry.html

Five Item Poetry Play (ages 3-6): Get a pencil and paper ready. Tell your child to run (or walk) to an item in your house. Write down that item. Have them do this 4 more times. You should have a list of 5 items. Read the poem to your child. Have them illustrate their poem.  
Couch Kitty
Computer Hooks Doorknob! 

Postcard Poetry (all ages):  Grab some postcards at your local convenience store. Write a one word poem or a poem based on the image found on the postcard. Send it to a loved one. Everyone still loves snail mail! Added bonus, your child learns how to address a postcard! Ah, the lost art of snail mail. Let's have a revival!