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Children's Poems and Songs
Poetry is a wonderful tool for teaching children. Its rhyme, rhythm and flow helps toddlers develop oral language skills, while older kids continue to benefit by improving oral reading skills. Kids' poetry is available in endless topics and styles, making it an ideal companion to other subjects your child is interested in.
Where Do I Begin?
Begin introducing poetry to children with short, silly or fun poems that rhyme. One of the most natural ways to infuse poetry into a child's life is with the seasons or holidays. Pick one or two poems each month or so to recite with your child. You might try "Five Little Turkeys" during November or "Must Be Santa" during the holidays.
Introduce the poem with excitement by reciting it with expression. Don't worry about sitting down and showing your child the actual words, especially if your child doesn't read yet. Instead, recite it to them emphasizing the rhyming words or the particular beat of the poem. Say the poem a few times, then let it rest. You might bring it up each day at the same time, like during breakfast or before bed, or just randomly throughout the day. Never force your child to say it with you. He'll eagerly join in when he feels confident.
Add movements to each line of the poem to help your child memorize it. Engage your child by asking her to help make them up. For example, in the poem "I See the Moon," your child might point up at the sky and then point to herself during the line, "I see the moon and the moon sees me." Don't worry if the movements aren't exactly what you would choose. The most important thing is to make your child feel part of the process. Toddlers also benefit from finger play, like "Five Little Bees," where small motor development is enhanced by moving the fingers.
Explore children's poetry with your child to spend quality time together learning, playing and bonding. There is no wrong way to do it, as long as you and your child are both smiling.