• My affiliate links won't hurt you, but they might help feed my kids. See my full disclosure policy in the main menu.

Making Poetry a Thing Again

This month is the 20th April to be designated National Poetry Month.  While that is pretty amazing, it also strikes me as sad that we didn’t have a poetry month before 20 years ago.  Then again, we didn’t really need one, did we?  Poetry used to be one of the major forms of literature, a way people communicated with each other and learned about the way the world works.  Now it’s mostly learned in college.  So it’s good we have a month dedicated to celebrating the glory that is poetry.

millions of massive raindrops

I have always been a huge fan of all types of poetry, and have even had many of my own poems published in collections, magazines, and literary journals.  I love settling in with a book of the collected works of Pablo Neruda, Anne Sexton, Marge Piercy, or Richard Brautigan, not to mention all the romantic poets that I absolutely adore.  There are certain types of days, for me, that are perfect for this.  That first sweater-worthy day of autumn.  A breezy, quiet spring day.  A rainy summer day.  I have to admit, I can’t really do poetry in winter–I am too easily depressed during that season.  I will read melancholy thoughts into the most chipper of verse.  But whatevs, other than during winter, I love reading poetry.

I don’t know about you, but I want my Littles (especially since they’re boys) to grow up loving poetry, or at least appreciating it.  There are ways to teach them this, and I have been implementing them for as long as they’ve been alive.

Yes.  I read poetry to them in the womb just as much as I read them prose.  I was totally That Mom.

You can introduce your child to poetry with something as simple as reading Dr. Seuss with him.  Or you can get one of A.A. Milne’s poetry collections for littles, When We Were Very Young or Now We Are Six.  Robert Louis Stevensons’s collection of children’s poetry, A Child’s Garden of Verses can be gotten free for your Kindle.  Our household fave is Shel Silverstein, but we are also partial to Jack Prelutsky.  Nursery rhymes are also great intros to poetry, so a beautifully-illustrated Mother Goose collection can change a child’s world.  When I was young, I had a copy of Dean’s Mother Goose Book of Rhymes by Janet and Anne Graham Johnstone and it changed the way I looked at everything.  In fact, a couple years ago I ordered a new copy of it so I could share the beautiful illustrations with my littles.

Once your child has read some poems and gotten an ear for the rhythm and rhyme, you can start having her write poems of her own.

The following poems are far from the many various types to be learned.  They are fun, simple ways to start teaching your students to write their own poetry.  You can get into free verse and sonnets later.

Acrostic–Uses a word going vertically down the page as the first letter in each horizontal line.  For example:

Littles run round my house

Over and under like a mouse

Valiantly battling deadly foes

Ever erasing all my woes

Diamante–This style has seven lines arranged in a certain structure. It starts out describing one thing and ends up describing another.

Picture

Haiku–Haiku consists of 3 lines and 17 syllables.  Lines 1 and 3 have five syllables and line 2 has seven syllables.  They do not have to rhyme, but a fun challenge can be rhyming lines 1 and 3.

The sky is so blue.

The sun is so warm up high.

I love the summer.

Cinquain–This consists of five unrhymed lines, with each line containing a certain number of syllables.

Line 1: 2 syllables

Line 2: 4 syllables

Line 3: 6 syllables

Line 4: 8 syllables

Line 5: 2 syllables

Limerick–This style has 5 lines with lines 1, 2, and 5 rhyming and lines 3 and 4 rhyming.  It usually starts with “There was a…” and ends with a name, place, or person. Lines 1, 2, and 5 should have 7-10 syllables and lines 3 and 4 should have 5-7 syllables.  The last line should be a little farfetched.

There was an Old Man of Nantucket
Who kept all his cash in a bucket.
His daughter, called Nan,
Ran away with a man,
And as for the bucket, Nantucket.

Celebrating National Poetry Month can be as easy as using poetry for your copywork and handwriting practice.  Pick a poem you think your littles will enjoy and either make a copywork page or do like I have done and write the poem on the chalkboard/dry-erase board for them to copy.  Then, once they’ve copied it, go through the poem with them, pick out the figurative language, discuss meanings and beat and rhyming words.  Easy peasy.

Whatever you do to bring poetry into your littles’ lives, make sure it’s fun.  Because poetry should be a thing again.  Don’t you think?

Love wins,

KT

Book-Lovin’ Lit Mama and a New Free download

Finally, Finally, FINALLY, the Lit Mama Homeschool is hitting its stride and finding its rhythm.  This year has been an eye-opener for me–a pleasure while also (at one time) bordering on a travesty.  I had a plan.  It was So Not Working.  I ditched the plan.  I came up with some other stuff.  Somehow, it started working alongside the original plan.  Now we are having fun, pursuing many interests, and I feel like I can relax a little.  If you know me, you know that means I’m still sleeping with one eye open and eating in front of the computer while I figure out our Next Big Thing.

But at least I can eat now.

something wicked

One of the things I really did throw out

(wait for it…)

was my original ideas about literature materials for this year.  I was going to have us read books related to our Asian, African, and Australian unit studies for the year.  Instead, as autumn approached, I got in the mood for some Bradbury.  If you’ve never read Something Wicked This Way Comes, holy cow, read it now in time for Halloween.  This book is spooky and intriguing from the word go (or in this case, the word First).  It’s also told mostly from the POV of two boys who are on the verge of turning 14, so it’s a great read for young boys who like a little mystery in their October.  Or girls.  Or heck, anybody.  And Bradbury… Listen, this guy knew how to form a sentence.  Sentence after sentence that sticks to your soul like honey, sweetening the way you look at the world forever.  Like this description of the two boys taking off running:

The wind flew Jim away.

A similar kite, Will swooped to follow.

Oh. Yeah.

The Littles love this book.  We have read it before.  We have no problem reading it again.  You always get something new the second time around.  The Littles completely humbled me by picking Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for their next book.  You know the Lit Mama is all about the classics, and you know I believe no one is ever too young to be introduced to them.  Since my boys have read the unabridged Robinson Crusoe, Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, and several other classics, I feel they are more than ready for some spooky Stevenson.  I’m pretty excited about reading it with them.

I could read Bradbury all year long, so I’m thinking it’s time for Fahrenheit 451 after our little dive into Multiple Personality World.

And you know what?  I’m not locking us down on anything.  Sure, I’ll be writing study guides all year, but I Love writing study guides.  Besides, where would I be if I couldn’t complain to all my lovely readers about how busy I am?  (I know, being busy in some other way so I could complain about it. haha)

And since I’ve talked about reading so much in this post, here’s a new free download–October Bookmarks straight from the book-lovin’ Lit Mama to you.

october bookmarksHave a great weekend, my friends.

Love wins,

KT

25 Days of Lit in Your Homeschool: Day 8 Poetry

os55l

Poetry is one of my favorite forms of expression.  So much can be said in so few words.  It is a great tool to teach your littles because it can help them be succinct, it helps them learn to describe, it feeds the imagination.  It’s never too early to introduce your littles to poetry.  There are so many ways to add it into a daily curriculum.  Copywork is a great way to bring poetry in without it being overwhelming.  If your littles are practicing their printing or cursive writing, giving them a poem to copy every day adds even more to the lesson.  Picking a poem to go with the day’s lesson is another way to bring poetry into your day.  Reading a poem aloud every day gets your littles used to hearing the rhythm and meter of different types of poetry.  Following are some suggestions for adding poetry into your homeschool.

 

 One fish two fish red fish blue fish by Dr. Seuss

Or any book by Dr. Seuss.  These books are such a great introduction to rhyme and the bright colors draw littles in to the illustrations.  I remember being so frustrated with Sam-I-Am when I was little.  Why couldn’t he just leave us alone and stop trying to force green eggs and ham on us?  Hmm? Seuss was a genius at rhyme, and most littles adore him without even realizing they are being introduced to poetry.

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

This book.  When I was in elementary school, my teacher introduced this book as part of the Scholastic book sale.  She raved about it.  I wanted it sooooo bad.  I didn’t get it until after Big was born when I bought it for him.  I spent a decade buying a copy for every new baby born to my friends and family.  Because every child should read this wonderful, hilarious, world-changing book of poetry.  Poetry written specifically for kids?  Silverstein was my hero. He can be the hero of your littles, too.

The New Kid on the Block by Jack Prelutsky

Prelutsky is another humorous poet just for kids.  Between him and Silverstein, you can find poems about darn near anything.  Monsters under the bed, bullies, alligators, you name it.  The thing about Prelutsky is he makes poetry seem cool.  It’s funny and entertaining.  It will give your littles a good place to jump off from when you decide to dig deeper.

 

A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson

When you do decide to go deeper, Stevenson’s sweet collection is a good start.  Written more in the style of the classic poets, these poems are still written for children about childlike things.  This collection, too, gives you access to a number of subjects and can be used to find poetry to go along with your daily lessons.  It’s a better introduction to adult poetry, especially if you’re looking at reading the classics.

 

Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne

Milne’s collection of poems for and about Christopher Robin are another good springboard for more mature poetry.  Your littles may at first feel disappointed that there aren’t a lot of Pooh references in the poems, but teach the poems for what they are and the kiddos will appreciate them.  Milne’s sly sense of humor is still here, and there are plenty of images to enjoy.  And I don’t mean illustrations.  Milne was a genius.  But you know that.

 

 

Dean’s Mother Goose Book of Rhymes by Janet and Anne Graham Johnstone

If you can get your hands on this one (and you can through that link. For cheap.), do so.  This was my all-time favorite book as a child.  In fact, my original copy is still hidden in the depths of my mother’s basement.  She can’t find it.  So I ordered me a new one last year.  Not even so much so my kids could enjoy it.  Just for me.  Because the illustrations are the most magical I’ve ever seen.  And the poems included are more varied than one generally finds in a Mother Goose collection.  My wallpaper on my laptop is a page out of this book.  I have stared at it, flipped its pages from front to back, and lost myself in it for enough hours to equate years.  I bet your littles will, too.  And maybe, just maybe, they’ll grow up loving poetry.

And that would be cool.

Love wins,

KT

Day One: Donkeys       Day Two: Summer         Day Three: Water        Day Four: Insects

Day Five: Owls            Day Six: Bears              Day Seven: Winter