Poetry in preschool: Learn to support language and literacy in an imaginative way and meet goals and standards
Presenter: Marcie Berul, Boston University
First select a poem and then expose the children to some of the physical objects that might be in the poem. Poems with more than one word to describe the same thing are effective in helping children think about language (for example, “catkins” are the fuzzy parts on a pussy willow tree but are also kittens). It’s important to use poetry that includes concrete objects that can be handled when you start.
Put small poems, with title and author, on poem charts around the room. Read them to and with the preschoolers, discussing the things they’ve already been exposed to and asking them to think about the things they aren’t familiar with. Ask the children to act out a poem, even if you think it isn’t something that can be acted out. Just moving to the words of the poem helps children internalize the rhythm and meaning of the language used.
Read poetry as part of your circle time without announcing that they are listening to poetry. Children do not have the same negative association with poetry that adults do and many find it easier to understand because of the different rhythm from prose.
On your poetry charts keep decorations to a minimum and use your best “teacher handwriting.”