Young children are born poets: Why poetry, rhyme and chant is essential for all children but crucial for the struggling reader!


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




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6 responses to “Young children are born poets: Why poetry, rhyme and chant is essential for all children but crucial for the struggling reader!

  1. Pingback: Why Rhyming Verse Is Important in Teaching Children to Read | The Tale of Piggy Packfat

  2. nina davis

    Hi Natalie,
    I’ll get back to you, but go to your school library and look for the ‘old rhymes’, also many Big Books have action and rhyme. I use Big Books all the time. I’ve taught multi- age many times, and my advice is to work out where each child is, and teach from their ‘point of need’. Move each child forward, know the expectations of the year, but differentiate. Each child will have different capabilities and learn at a different rate.
    Look for misconceptions, ask me questions and visit other classrooms. My gmail is Email me and I’ll send you some resources that I refer to constantly. I’m happy to support you anyway I can.
    New teachers often feel overwhelmed, but you’re not on your own. I get numerous emails. I’m still learning and trying to improve what I do, and ‘yes’ I still feel overwhelmed at times.
    Cheers Nina

  3. Natalie

    Hi Nina,

    Sorry to comment on an old post. I recently discovered your blog and have been having great fun trawling through it.

    I am a second year teacher and have been given Prep/1s (a tricky combo!) to teach this year. I’m really struggling to find my way at the moment, but your posts are very inspiring. I would love more info about how to actually implement the activities you describe. I’d love to watch you in action!

    Anyway, I digress. I’m more specifically hoping that you might have some links or resource ideas for me regarding poems, chants, songs etc. that you use with your Preps. I have spent the last week googling my heart out and haven’t come up with much. I would really love educational songs etc. that would help to teach my kids their ABCs (in addition to the song everyone knows), counting, adding etc.

    Thanks so much. Whether you can point me in the right direction or not, I appreciate your blog! Natalie

  4. Pingback: Best Practice must be Shared! Here’s some great practice shared by a colleague! « Nina’s Arena-Teaching & Learning in the Australian primary classroom

  5. averil2

    Thanks Jenny for the encouragement and support. I’m amazed that my blog has had so many hits. Cheers Nina

  6. jennylu

    Very impressive blog stats Nina. You are obviously drawing an audience. Fantastic results for week one of blogging. Well done!

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