Introducing my 5 – 6 year old (Prep) students to poetry is part of my daily program. Poetry engages young children, particularly when they can join in. Poems, rhymes, raps, finger plays and chants are important in all classrooms, but crucial to young children learning to read. Rhymes allow students to make predictions. I find that the children, who have difficulty predicting a text, have a ‘tougher’ journey learning to read. For this group of children poetry, chants and rhyme are essential. These are the children who find a Reading Recovery Level 1 book challenging. The book might read, I am in at the park, I am at the zoo, I am at the beach, and even when the language is repetitive and patterned, the structure is not remembered.
The resurrection of poetry, rhymes and chants in classrooms supports the important role they have in developing the language skills of young children.
For example rapping is a cultural phenomenon, and involves movement, it’s clever, ‘cool’ and fun. My preps love rapping – its poetry!
Just for the record:
One of my favourite authors for young children is Dr. Seuss. I read these books to the children until they can recite the stories off by heart. The children love these books and take them home to read e.g. Green Eggs and Ham. The language is phonetic,
contains simple sight words and they can remember the rhyme. Have as many in your room as you can, and read them ‘to death’.
The displays are for the children to make reference to when writing, to celebrate their work and to provide parents with information. Writing an explanation of what has been done in ‘child speak’, and placing it with the display, ensures that when the display is looked at, the focus of the viewer is not just the beautiful pictures but the