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For a while now, I have been wanting to do more in the way of exploring poetry with the children. I always found it quite thought-provoking when I was at school and I think there is a skill to be learnt in writing poetry that is different from learning to write. I think reading it, discussing it, and writing it helps to develop a greater understanding of language, and helps to use language in different ways too.
I wasn’t too sure how we could introduce poetry, but I was doing some of the Good & The Beautiful Language Arts stuff (of which I’ll write more another time) and there was a page with three/four short poems on. The children and I read them, and they really enjoyed one of them in particular. I got them a small notebook each and the stuck a copy of the poem in, then drew a picture to accompany it.
It was really lovely to hear Daniel recite the poem back to his Dad that evening (and recall from memory the same poem this weekend to tell his grandparents). It was also interesting to hear their different interpretations of the poems we read and to see how they illustrated them.
Over the weekend I wanted to look into poetry a little more with them. I’d seen a lot of a fabulous book called ‘I am the Seed that grew the tree‘ and having seen it ‘in the flesh’ in Waterstones I decided it was an ‘essential’ purchase. It’s a huge book (and you can see more of it here) and this weekend we had our first poetry tea time. We had some cookies, hot chocolate for the children and a cup of tea for me and we read the poems for the week up to Saturday. The book is stunning and has a poem for each day of the year. We talked about the poems, who we thought was speaking, who they were speaking too. The colours that the poems made us think about, and what the descriptive words might mean. We each chose a favourite one. Emma chose quite a long one, so I wrote this out for her and she then glued it into her book and illustrated it. Daniel wrote his own out and drew some pictures and I did the same. It was really lovely to just sit, collectively, and work together on this.
I have always enjoyed being creative, whether that be sewing, playing music or crafting in various guises, but I rarely seem to find the time these days to just sit and spend time being creative. So, for me to have that moment in the week to get the watercolour pencils out and just attempt to capture something was really nice. I think the children also enjoyed the gentle conversation we had about the poems, the use of the language in them to provoke emotion etc.
I am going to make sure we have time for poetry tea time each week and I hope they continue to enjoy capturing their favourite poems in their books. It’ll be interesting to see how their work develops, both in terms of the interpretation of the poetry, their artwork and, perhaps, even their own poems in the future.
Do you read poetry with your children, and if so, do you have any recommendations for poetry books we should be looking for?