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We’ve become a utilitarian society, and we raise our kids in a utilitarian way. We give them good, healthy dinners so they can be strong and healthy. We put them to bed on time so they’ll get the rest they need. We fly kites with them so they’ll get fresh air and exercise, and maybe so they’ll have ‘memories’ . We play board games with them so they can gain social skills and ‘learn strategy’.
Poetry? It’s been an important part of the childhood experience for decades, but it’s falling by the wayside now. Somehow, it doesn’t seem important. A book about the habits of ants, bees, or antelope seems a better choice than a volume of nursery rhymes or ‘A Child’s Garden of Verses’.
But poetry is important, and there are lots of good reasons – even some practical, utilitarian ones– why it should be a big part of your child’s daily life.
Here are five reasons why kids need poetry:
- Poetry gives children an understanding of, fluency in, and appreciation for rhythm. This makes reading, writing, and rhetorical speech all easier.
- Poetry works a child’s imagination, and teaches him how to use words to paint mental pictures.
- Poetry is a wonderful sandbox for your child to use to experiment with self-expression; even small children love reciting and reading poems with a thousand different dramatic nuances in tone and gesture.
- Poetry is important to your child’s speech development: it can help him gain breath control and is one of the easiest way to gain fluency in tongue and teeth movements that could otherwise take years of speech therapy.
- Poetry can help your child develop what’s called ‘phonomic awareness’,the ability to differentiate the tiny building blocks of sound. It’ll also give him or her an intuitive understanding of the niceties of pitch, inflection, emphasis and volume.
Next week we’ll share how you can bring poetry into your home and daily routine, so stay tuned!