Tuesday, January 31, 2012

More Books, Please - poetry in the morning

After listening to some great talks from Andrew Pudewa (homeschool dad extraordinaire), and reading this wonderful article (especially the part about the importance of listening in order to learn correct sentence structure and grammar), I have really made an effort to give our home more of a reading atmosphere. 

Now, I’ve always been an avid reader, and M was born with the love for a good story… books are one thing we could not do without.  But, still it doesn’t hurt to add in a bit more where we can, or to be intentional about more reading than what happens here and there throughout the day.

I want to share, in a few posts, how we are adding more reading into our days.  I’ve created a sort of routine of reading for our day – stuck neatly where it fits within with our normal schedule.

Breakfast:  We read a daily reading from the Bible, or from one of our Saint Books: image(these stories are awesome, but out of print, by the way). 

Then I read some poetry to M.  I think it’s important to develop a love of poetry – which can be a difficult thing to do.  It’s a different style of writing (many different styles, I suppose), has to be read a certain way in order to really “get” what is being said, and is full of a sort of dancing around the subject… do you know what I mean?  You have to be able to read between the lines in poetry… it’s always alluding to something, but never coming right out in good old plain prose and just saying it. :)

It’s good to do this at breakfast, when he is held captive not distracted by anything other than eating.  Some wonderful introductions to poetry are Shel Silverstein’s books, Where the Sidewalk Ends:

And A Light in the Attic:So many of the poems in these books are easy to understand and downright funny and appealing to a child. 

We also enjoy A.A. Milne’s books, When We Were Very Young:

and Now We Are Six:

Yes, he is the writer of Winnie the Pooh, and if you love Pooh, you will love the poetry in these books (they are not all about Pooh, by the way – in fact, most are simply about childhood itself – don’t let the illustrations fool you!). 

Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verse: is also well-loved, but many of the poems are a bit over M’s head right now.  I want him to LOVE poetry, not feel bored by it, so we won’t read from that one again for a while longer.

I try to find one or two very funny poems to read first, then something that needs a bit more digging to understand.  No more than 3 or 4 poems each morning keeps him wanting more and gives him something to chew on without being overwhelmed.  It also makes these books last a long time!

I was recently rewarded with M’s first “real” poetry (as opposed to nursery rhyme) reference … he saw a frost-covered window one morning, and said in a sing-song sort of voice, “It looks like Jack Frost was here last night.  I think somebody must have been dreaming about ________!” (I can’t for the life of me remember what he thought it looked like, darn it).  This was a reference to the beautiful poem, Jack Frost, by Gabriel Setoun, in which Jack creeps into your room while your sleeping and draws pictures of your dreams on the windows. :)  It’s one of my favorites, and it was such a special feeling to share that little moment with M.

I’ll write more about our other reading routines soon!

Do you have any favorite children’s poetry books you’d like to share?  I’d love to hear about them!

Have a beautiful day! :)

P.S.  Thank you all SO much for your kind and warm words in response to my little announcement yesterday.  :)  I’m so thankful to have “met” so many wonderful people in the blogging world!

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