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.
7 Ways Children Learn from Poetry
Reading poetry for pleasure is a great way to help kids develop a love for the poetic form. Check out my list of favorite poetry books for children that you should definitely grab from your local library or add to your permanent collection! But…Understanding the way poetry boosts a child’s development helps us parents take an active role in regularly sharing poems (and stories) with our children.
Here’s my list of seven ways children learn from poetry. You’ll notice as you read this list, how each skill leads to the next skill. So the skills support each other as you read!
1. Listening to poetry read out loud aloud helps children recognize rhythm patterns, and verbal phrasings. Most children adore music, so they’ll naturally gravitate to the musical beat or rhythm of poetry.
2. The short lines and repetitive phrasings of poetry teach children chunk information into manageable parts.
3. When children chunk information, they strengthen their listening skills, because they focus on hearing the various auditory patterns to create more “chunks.” 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!
4. Recognizing patterns allows children to begin forming logical conclusions about “what comes next?” Not to mention, those auditory patterns are highly recognizable even for the youngest listener.
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!
5. Making educated guesses about what rhyming word/phrase comes next (like in the Try This above) develops a child’s inferencing skills! They infer both from the rhyme pattern and the context of the poem itself, what word would best fit into that “blank.”
6. The rhythms of poetry aid in developing memory skills. Since poetry is rhythmic and patterned, children easily memorize lines and entire stanzas of poetry (especially when set to music, as in a song!). Memorization is important for non-readers, or struggling readers, who may 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.
7. 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!
You may also enjoy these poetry articles:
- Teaching poetry through fingerplays
- Favorite poetry books for children
- 7 ways to share poetry with children
- Wordplay with magnetic poetry
- Exploring poetry with onomatopoeia