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Poetry in Motion

language awareness 85When children act out a good poem, they love its rhyme and the pictures it paints with a few well-chosen words. They grow as readers by connecting emotion with the written word.

What you need:
Poems that rhyme, tell a story, and are written from a child's point of view

What to do:

1. Read a poem slowly to your child, and bring all your dramatic talents to the reading. (In other words, ham it up.)

2. If there is a poem your child particularly likes, suggest acting out a favorite line. Be sure to award such efforts with delighted enthusiasm.

3. Then suggest acting out a verse, a stanza, or the entire poem. Ask your child to make a face of the way the character in the poem is feeling. Remember that facial expressions bring emotion into the performer's voice.

4. Again, be an enthusiastic audience for your child. Applause is always nice.

5. If your child is comfortable with the idea, look for a larger setting with an attentive, appreciative audience. Perhaps he'd enjoy an after-dinner "recital" for your family.

6. Mistakes are a fact of life, so ignore them.

Poems are often short, with lots of white space on the page. This makes them manageable for new readers and helps to build their confidence.

Source: Helping Your Child Learn to Read, U.S. Department of Education

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