Why Rhyming Verse (Poetry) Is Important in Teaching Children to Read
A groundbreaking leader in early childhood education is Nina Davis, an Australian educator, who advocates the aggressive use of rhyming verse in teaching young children to read.
Her website is: Nina’s Arena—Teaching and Learning in the Australian Primary Classroom, found at: http://ninadavis.me/2009/01/22/young-children-are-born-poets-why-poetry-rhyme-and-chant-is-essential-for-all-children-but-crucial-for-the-struggling-reader/
She actively espouses use of rhymed verse, saying: “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.” She believes, “The resurrection of poetry, rhymes and chants in classrooms supports the important role they have in developing the language skills of young children.”
This is why the author, Dr. Smith, has presented his Tale of Piggy Packfat in rhymed and metered verse, not unlike another much more famous author of children’s books highly favored by Ms. Davis, Dr. Seuss, about whom she says, “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’.”
Excellent advice, Ms. Davis, with which we heartily concur.
Another wonderful blog about why children love rhymes and why they are important can be found at: http://timbuktu.me/blog/why-do-children-love-poems/. Blogger Timbuktu stresses four (4) reasons why rhymes are important in educating children:
- Language development
- Physical development
- Cognitive development, and
- Social/emotional development
Be sure to check his fine article as well.