No-Stress Tips for Engaging Kids and Teens in Poetry6 min read
Poetry is such an important part of falling in love with any language.
If you love poetry (and even if you don’t), we would definitely encourage you to engage your kids and teens in poetry.
Why you may ask?
Well, the first reason is that poetry can greatly benefit children and young adults.
Your child’s speech development will highly improve, and so will his interpretation skills. Poetry will help your child to develop his own opinions and understand various emotions in depth. It also encourages extensive vocabulary and better grammar. Poetry helps to improve reading and writing skills as well as introduces kids to various writers and writing styles. It has the ability to inspire creativity and it has the power to transport one to a billion different worlds.
If all these reasons aren’t convincing enough for you, then our last reason is this: poetry is just plain beautiful! It is one of the most wonderful forms of expressing and using language; why wouldn’t you want your kids and/or teens to cultivate a liking for this amazing form of literature?
However, many parents feel like poetry is something that can only be taught well to kids by teachers. Or that it’s tough to introduce poetry to children. How do you get your kids to be interested in poetry, let alone complicated terms and ideas like symbolism and meter?
That’s exactly what we are here to help you with!
Children can naturally and intuitively connect with many fundamental aspects of poetry.
And helping them to start making these connections doesn’t necessarily have to be stressful or boring but rather fun and interesting!
In the beginning, helping your child to cultivate a love for poetry should be super simple. Once your kids and teens are initiated and interested in poetry is when you can start formal studies of Shakespeare,
Donne and other monumental poets.
So, if you want to get your kids and teens engaged in poetry, here are some no-stress tips to help you with your endeavors:
Focus on the Sound
Everyone has those few songs that they love because they just sound fun or cool. Music is basically another form of poetry so the sound is a very important aspect of poetry too. Songs and poems help us to connect with words in a deep manner.
Much of the oldest poetry that we still have today has actually originated from stories that were orally passed down from generation to generation. One of the things that helped these people remember all these stories was the predictable pattern of sound.
Thus, one of the best ways to get kids absorbed into poetry is to help them to appreciate the presence of rhythm and understand its workings.
Explain to your children how the human brain connects to words and phrases very differently when rhythm and sound are involved. Then, demonstrate this fact to them by choosing a few rhyming poems that you read aloud to them and then analyze the sound as you read (instead of the meanings of words).
Have discussions about which words seem to be immediately jumping out and which ones just flow together with the rest of the poem.
You can ask your kids to pick out the rhyming words from the poems
You could also try to come up with a melody for the poem.
Then, choose a popular song that your kids and teens are familiar with and take turns in trying to read it aloud like a poem.
Something pretty cool that you might notice is that your kid’s ability to memorize a poem will be much higher than memorizing a paragraph of a text without rhythm.
The usual practice adopted by people is to jump right into the words in a poem and try to interpret their meanings. However, something that is often skipped over is trying to analyze and find meanings in the sounds of poems too. When your kids understand this very basic principle, they already understand an important part of poetry!
Aim at Story-Driven Poetry
Many kids and teens usually find it easier to connect with poetry that is story-driven. And there are multiple poems out there that narrate stories. You could begin with them.
Shel Silverstein is a good pick for kids of all ages.
For teens, you could choose Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven or even Beowulf.
There is a plethora of story-driven poetry out there. Try and pick poems that are just right for your kids’ and/or teens’ interests.
Visual and Artsy Learning
Poetry is such a unique aspect of literature and language. It has the ability to paint images in the reader’s mind through its intensely descriptive words.
If your child is a visual learner or loves doing art and craft projects, you could pick poems that provide lots of vivid descriptions and imagery. After this, have your child create something that spoke to him from the poem in the form of art (or even craft)!
Your child can make something that captures the various images, feelings and emotions of the poem.
The poems of William Wordsworth and Robert Frost will work perfectly well for this purpose.
Another great idea for artsy kids is to try blackout poetry. This involves taking any book that you wouldn’t mind coloring and painting over. You transform or change the book by choosing a few words from a page to create a poem. “Blackout” the remaining words on the page by creating art over them.
Going down the drama route is always a cool way to engage kids and teens in poetry.
Your child or teen can look for a piece of poetry that resonates with her and then memorize and practice reciting it. When reciting, your child can act it out, use props and costumes and have proper voice modulation to give you a proper dramatic performance.
Keep a Creative Writing Journal
Encourage your kids to dig deeper into the structures of various poems. Maybe your child could try her hand at writing her own poetry!
In their creative writing journal, your kids or teens could gather interesting words that they find appealing. They could even write down their dreams.
Your child can engage in “free writing” for ten to twenty minutes every day. It doesn’t have to have the perfect grammar or correct spellings; it doesn’t have to rhyme and it need not necessarily make sense either. As long as your child is engaged in writing.
We hope these 5 no-stress tips seriously help you as you take your kids/teens on this journey of appreciating poetry. Although poetry can be complicated, engaging your kids in it can be fun.