Why Poems Matter in Childhood – VP of Curriculum Dee McDonald

Poetry Classroom Image

Poetry can build social and emotional learning, both in children and adults. Think about the poems you learned when you were a child.

In the United States, most adults have very fond memories of childhood rhymes: “Miss Mary Mack all dressed in black…”, “I know an old lady who swallowed a fly, I don’t know why she swallowed a fly…”, “Engine, engine number nine, running down Chicago line…”.

Earlier this month, we spent an entire day celebrating the most esteemed poet for young children, the legendary Dr. Seuss.

“Unless someone like you cares an awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.”

– Dr. Seuss

The importance of poetry reading for young children cannot be underrated. Poetry helps lay the foundation for future reading success, especially poems that use rhyme schemes.

Simple rhymes help children:

  • Develop phonological awareness, which is an awareness and understanding of the sound structure of language
  • Increase your child’s vocabulary (especially of rare words that are usually found in poetry)
  • Building your child’s background knowledge. This is a strong predictor of how easily he or she will learn to read and is linked to children’s academic and social success at school

Poetry helps develop skills in creativity, as a poet uses language and linguistic techniques to create visual images that come alive in the mind of the reader or listener. As the images come alive, the listener or reader becomes part of the experience. He is there, at least in his imagination, and because he is there, even for a very short time, his emotions are also engaged. He feels frightened or excited, filled with awe or sad.

Pretty amazing, really. Here is a fun childhood rhyme from our FasTrack English program:

Read poems and make rhymes a part of your daily life. Follow the link from Best Books for Kids to find out more ways to rhyme with your child.

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