Five Benefits of Reading Poetry with Children

There are many benefits of reading poetry with young children so I hope you are including poetry in your reading lessons. If you haven’t tried reading poetry with your child, I encourage you to consider the many benefits of reading poetry with young children and I know you will be incorporating poetry into your lessons and reading time on a regular basis! Not only is poetry fun to read, but you will also see why poetry is important for the development of key reading skills.

Using poetry in your lessons

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Five Benefits of Reading Poetry with Children

Check out these five reasons for including poetry in your reading lessons and during read-aloud time.

Poetry Promotes Phonemic Awareness

playing with and hearing sounds are what phonemic awareness is all about. Phonemic awareness is the best predictor of reading success that we have. Let me say that again– phonemic awareness is the best predictor of reading success.

Using rhyming poetry will help develop this skill in your pre-readers. There’s a reason Mother Goose has stood the test of time!

Jack Sprat could eat no fat,

his wife could eat no lean,

and so between the two of them, they licked the platter clean.

Just unpacking this simple nursery rhyme we see how children are being introduced to the short ‘a’ sound, rhyming word families like ‘at’ and the long ‘e’ vowel pattern of ‘ea’. Hearing these sounds and playing with them in language will go a long way to help them be successful when it’s time to read these words and decode the patterns.

Poetry Develops Your Child’s Fluency¬†

One of the best benefits of reading poetry is that it helps slower or stilted readers develop fluency. Since fluency comprises more than just the ability to read quickly, we can use poetry to model phrasing, the rhythm of reading, and expression. It is impossible to read poetry without infusing it with expression. Take this excerpt from a poem by Jack Prelutsky, for example:

The Bogeyman

BY JACK PRELUTSKY

In the desolate depths of a perilous place

the bogeyman lurks, with a snarl on his face.

Never dare, never dare to approach his dark lair

for he’s waiting . . . just waiting . . . to get you.

He skulks in the shadows, relentless and wild

in his search for a tender, delectable child.

With his steely sharp claws and his slavering jaws

oh he’s waiting . . . just waiting . . . to get you.

Poetry is High-Interest Material 

Children who are reluctant readers will often only read if something really, really interests them. Poems can bring the high-interest factor to your reading program. If your child likes silly, funny, or humorous poetry, go for Jack Prelutsky and Shel Silverstein.

Poetry is Short and Quick

Our reluctant readers will groan and moan when faced with a page of text or long paragraphs, but reading a poem makes the words slide along quickly and smoothly. Use poetry that interests your child if they are easily intimidated by long chunks of text or shut down when faced with too many words on a page.

Poetry Develops Fluency and Comprehension with Repeated Readings 

Children need to reread text in order to be able to read it fluently. Poetry is made to be read over and over again so it’s an ideal tool to use to help develop your child’s fluency and comprehension skills. In fact, the more you read a poem, the more fun it becomes!

Use poetry often in your reading program and watch how it can impact your pre-reader, beginning reader, or struggling reader!

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