No doubt in my mind: poetry develops learning skills in young children that translate across all other avenues of learning. Here are seven ways children learn from poetry.
Passive reading of poetry for pleasure is a great start to help kids develop an affinity for the poetic form. Yet understanding the way poetry boosts a child’s development helps us as parents take an active role in regularly sharing poems (and stories) to our children.
7 Ways Children Learn from Poetry
Listening to poetry read aloud helps children recognize rhythm patterns, and verbal phrasings.
The short lines and repetitive phrasings of poetry teach children chunk information into manageable parts.
When children chunk information, they strengthen their listening skills, as they focus on hearing the various auditory patterns. Active listening is a declining skill in our world with the growth of visual media. Poetry is an exciting and entertaining way to build this vital skill!
Not to mention, those auditory patterns are highly recognizable even for the youngest listener. Recognizing patterns allows children to begin forming logical conclusions about “what comes next?”
Try this: read a rhyming couplet and stop just before the last word – by around age four, a child can usually fill in the correct word because of the rhyme pattern!
Making educated guesses about what rhyming word/phrase comes next (like in the Try This above) develops a child’s inferencing skills!
Since poetry is rhythmic and patterned, children easily memorize lines and entire stanzas of poetry (especially when set to music!). The rhythms of poetry aid in developing memory skills. Memorization is important for non-readers, who rely on long and short-term memory to “accumulate text” (to remember what just happened while receiving additional information) as they cannot re-read the text themselves.
And of course, the easy-to-learn patterns and rhythms of poetry help children learn any number of other skills, such as counting, vocabulary building, and imagination-stretching!