How do you help your kids write poetry? By helping them read and understand it, of course. But, how do you do that? Today on Home School Heartbeat, Mike Smith talks with homeschooler Kathy Weitz about how to help your children read a poem well—and then begin writing their own.
Kathy, when you’re teaching parents how to teach poetry, what methods do you recommend for working with and understanding a poem?
Well, besides reading and memorizing, which we’ve already talked about, do teach your children how to scan a poem. Teach them to identify the meter and recognize the form. There’s a fairly simple body of knowledge that you and your students would need to master to identify the most common forms found in Western poetry. At home, we do lots of practice on paper. Once you’ve learned the basics, you’ll find it’ really not very difficult to incorporate these studies into just daily poetry reading. I read a poem aloud, and then I ask my children to tell me the meter and rhyme scheme. It’s simple and often they are quicker to recognize it than I am.
Where should they start (that is, our kids start) when writing their own poems?
Always start with imitation. Ask your students to imitate the rhyme, the meter, and the grammar structure of a well-written poem. And work on it together. Put it up on the white board. We’ve had a great time doing this: this is a very fun and rewarding thing to do.
Kathy, those are really some very helpful basic guidelines, and thank you so much for that. Until next time, I’m Mike Smith.