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Learning Poetry Off by Heart at the Age of 5

Discussion in 'Primary' started by JosieWhitehead, Jun 11, 2012.

  1. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    I'm well-known on TES. I'm both a teacher (retired) and also a children's poet, and in the last five and a half years I have written 900 new poems for children of every age group, encouraged initially by children in my local primary school. They told me they liked poems written with rhyme, rhythm and stories - - and so do I. The Government are asking that every child of 5 should be able to memorize poetry and recite it. I say that this is EXCELLENT in every way and I even go farther than this. Parents should be encouraging children to do this well before they go to school. The type of poetry they need must be written with rhyme and rhythm in order to develop phonological awareness, a key literacy skill. The poems we read when I was a child were those of Robert Louis Stevenson, Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear etc etc - and they were all written this way. When children see words that sound alike but have different spellings they will remember the spellings. When children read poetry that is written with rhythm, they learn that words can be broken down into sounds to make rhythm. If you come to my website, to the Web Index, I am teaching teachers how this is done, and about the difference between iambic feet and trochees, between anapests and dactyls. It is very very easy and there is no harder than learning the difference between a march and a waltz in music. Telling children to write a sentence split into separate lines and calling it poetry just won't do I say. Teach them a little bit about metre because it is so easy and will help them with reading. I will leave you with part of one of my poems. Please do look at the rhyming words. They sound alike but look at the spellings. Now this is where rhyming poetry helps children. Please do come to my website by Googling JOSIE'S POEMS. This is one of five websites. The other four are linked to my books and are worth buying. I've written 52 minibeast poems, as one instance. So useful to teachers:

     A witch with a broomstick was learning to fly
    And her broomstick instructor was starting to sigh:
      ?Just point up to heaven and head for that star!
      A broomstick?s much easier than driving a car.?

    ?I?ll be late for my party. It starts promptly at eight.
    They?re expecting me then and I mustn?t be late.?
      The instructor then thought: ?How very absurd.
      Most witches can fly through the air like a bird.?

     ?Excuse me, my dear, but what word did you use?
    There?s a choice, as you know, so which did you choose??
      The witch was embarrassed and her face went quite red.
      ?I?m no good at remembering words? she then said.

     Her instructor got angry and gave a big sigh:
    ?So how did you think you would fly through the sky??
      He asked her politely which word she preferred:
      ?Now don?t forget that one! It?s your special word.?

    I hope this shows clearly why rhyming poetry is so important and why it is so much easier for children to learn and recite than free verse poems. Best wishes - Josie
     
  2. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    I'm well-known on TES. I'm both a teacher (retired) and also a children's poet, and in the last five and a half years I have written 900 new poems for children of every age group, encouraged initially by children in my local primary school. They told me they liked poems written with rhyme, rhythm and stories - - and so do I. The Government are asking that every child of 5 should be able to memorize poetry and recite it. I say that this is EXCELLENT in every way and I even go farther than this. Parents should be encouraging children to do this well before they go to school. The type of poetry they need must be written with rhyme and rhythm in order to develop phonological awareness, a key literacy skill. The poems we read when I was a child were those of Robert Louis Stevenson, Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear etc etc - and they were all written this way. When children see words that sound alike but have different spellings they will remember the spellings. When children read poetry that is written with rhythm, they learn that words can be broken down into sounds to make rhythm. If you come to my website, to the Web Index, I am teaching teachers how this is done, and about the difference between iambic feet and trochees, between anapests and dactyls. It is very very easy and there is no harder than learning the difference between a march and a waltz in music. Telling children to write a sentence split into separate lines and calling it poetry just won't do I say. Teach them a little bit about metre because it is so easy and will help them with reading. I will leave you with part of one of my poems. Please do look at the rhyming words. They sound alike but look at the spellings. Now this is where rhyming poetry helps children. Please do come to my website by Googling JOSIE'S POEMS. This is one of five websites. The other four are linked to my books and are worth buying. I've written 52 minibeast poems, as one instance. So useful to teachers:

     A witch with a broomstick was learning to fly
    And her broomstick instructor was starting to sigh:
      ?Just point up to heaven and head for that star!
      A broomstick?s much easier than driving a car.?

    ?I?ll be late for my party. It starts promptly at eight.
    They?re expecting me then and I mustn?t be late.?
      The instructor then thought: ?How very absurd.
      Most witches can fly through the air like a bird.?

     ?Excuse me, my dear, but what word did you use?
    There?s a choice, as you know, so which did you choose??
      The witch was embarrassed and her face went quite red.
      ?I?m no good at remembering words? she then said.

     Her instructor got angry and gave a big sigh:
    ?So how did you think you would fly through the sky??
      He asked her politely which word she preferred:
      ?Now don?t forget that one! It?s your special word.?

    I hope this shows clearly why rhyming poetry is so important and why it is so much easier for children to learn and recite than free verse poems. Best wishes - Josie
     
  3. greta444

    greta444 New commenter

    Agreed. I was reciting poetry at Sunday school from the age of 3. Never did me any harm and I still remember many of those poems now. Sadly this skills is lacking in schools today although I realise that time constraints is the main reason why we don't learn off by heart anymore.
     
  4. Ramjam

    Ramjam New commenter

    What's scary is the idea that some schools don't already do this.
    Granted we have to start further back, because fewer children come in knowing nursery rhymes, but we learn poetry to recite in every year in KS1, whether it's a simple rhyme to go with a topic e.g.by John Foster or Jabberwocky for recitation in a poetry assembly.
    (One problem with the nursery rhyme idea is that some teachers even in FS don't know more than Twinkle Twinkle, Humpty Dumpty, Baa Baa Black Sheep and occasionally Jack and Jill) Bring back rhymes/ songs like Sing a Song of Sixpence, Little Jack Horner, Pop goes the Weasel, Little Boy Blue, Little Polly Flinders, Hey Diddle Diddle, Aiken Drum, Who killed *** Robin and Ding Dong bell
    Learning things by rote, especially with a rhyme or a rhythm is good training for things like tables, conjugating verbs, counting in different steps.
    And on the subject of tables; the new rule is that children should learn tables up to 12x by age 9 so by year 4-5.
    Which schools don't already do this?
    Granted, some children are poor at learning them and need frequent, ongoing revision but those who make the effort do well, and that (this year) applies even to a child with ASD.
     

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