Today’s blog is about the importance of poetry ans drama in children’s education.
Poems and drama are important genres that introduce children to verse, prose, rhythm, rhyme, writing styles, literary devices, symbolism, analogies, and metaphors. From a librarian’s point of view, they are important because the they are written at different reading levels so that a young reader’s interests can be matched with text that is consistent with their abilities. This is especially important for “reluctant readers” that may read below their age group. The simple language used in some poems and drama can be appreciated by readers of varying abilities, providing a context to teach a variety of language arts skills.
Here is an example of a poem for children:
by Elizabeth Turner
Mary had a little bird,
With feathers bright and yellow,
Slender legs-upon my word,
He was a pretty fellow!
Sweetest notes he always sung,
Which much delighted Mary;
Often where his cage was hung,
She sat to hear Canary.
Crumbs of bread and dainty seeds
She carried to him daily,
Seeking for the early weeds,
She decked his palace gaily.
This, my little readers, learn,
And ever practice duly;
Songs and smiles of love return
To friends who love you truly.
Children love sounds. They enjoy repeating refrains, chants, end-rhymed verses and traditional forms like the villanelle or the limerick. Through the lilting or thrumming sounds of well constructed rhythmic poems, a child develops their intelligence, their memory and their ear.
Reading poems aloud to a child is a vital way of connecting with them. This faculty of verse written for children cannot be underestimated, both in its capacity to draw the child’s interest and to serve as an educational tool.
Drama is important because children have open minds. They are able to envision the possibility of other worlds. Without creating ludicrous scenarios or images that talk down to the child, let imagination flow freely in action for children. it is important for a child to make there own interpretation of the story, and as other students may demonstrate the same part of a story they can see that each person might not interpret the story the same way they did and they will learn to have an open mind an apreciate different ideas.
As teachers we should encourage students through poetry an drama to have imagination. Edward Lear imagined a man who kept birds in his beard, Dennis Lee described the deliciousness of alligator soup and pie, Shel Silverstein created the picture of a boy who had a wavy head instead of wavy hair. Dr. Seuss is most famous for imaginative writing for kids.