Friday, May 22, 2009

Poems for Poetry in a Suitcase

Janet Wong sent me a link to the following post at the Mama Without Borders blog: Packing our “poetry in a suitcase.” I think you'll find this post about an inventive method for getting children excited about poetry--a method suggested by Janet--quite interesting. Minerva Canto, the author of Mama Without Borders, wrote about how effective using a “poetry suitcase” she had decorated and filled with poems and objects was in helping to get her son and daughter interested in listening to and talking about poems.

I feel strongly that poetry should be an integral part of children’s literary lives. I also feel that it’s of great import to introduce children to this genre when they’re very young—at a time in their lives when they are most receptive to it...at a time when they take great pleasure in hearing poems and stories with rhythm and rhyme…at a time when they’re like little sponges absorbing and then repeating everything they hear. Getting children interested in poetry when they’re wee toddlers may be the best method to foster an appreciation for it that could last throughout their lives.
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Edited to Add
Janet Wong left the following advice in the comments:
A simple way for teachers to create a Poetry Suitcase is to make it a homework assignment. Hand out large index cards and tell the children that they have one week to find a poem. It could be a short poem, long poem, poem they love, poem they hate...whatever: they just need to write it down on the index card.
Next they need to find some prop to tie to the card. For instance, if the poem was about trees, they could tie it to a branch. One week after giving the homework assignment, a teacher will have a Poetry Suitcase full of dozens of poems and props that could be very fun to share, perhaps during the last 5 minutes of the day, when kids are especially wiggly...
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For Poetry Friday this week, I thought I’d recommend some poetry collections and anthologies that are excellent for sharing with young children— preschoolers, kindergartners, and kids in the early elementary grades. The books include poems that would be great to pack up in your own "poetry suitcase."


On the Farm
Written by David Elliott
Illustrated by Holly Meade
Candlewick Press, 2008
Click here to read my review of On the Farm.


Busy in the Garden
Written by George Shannon
Illustrated by Sam Williams
Greenwillow, 2006


Click here to read my review of Busy in the Garden.


Nibble Nibble
Written by Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrated by
Wendell Minor
HarperCollins, 2007

Click here to read my review of Nibble Nibble.



The Llama Who Had No Pajama: 100 Favorite Poems
Written by
Mary Ann Hoberman
Illustrated by Betty Fraser
Browndeer Press/Harcourt Brace, 1998


Click here to read a brief review of the book and some of the poems included in this outstanding collection of poems by our new Children’s Poet Laureate.


Here’s a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry
Collected by Jane Yolen & Andrew Fusek Peters
Illustrated by
Polly Dunbar
Candlewick Press, 2007


Click here to read my review of Here’s a Little Poem.

Go! Poetry in Motion
Written by Dee Lillegard
Illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev
Knopf, 2006


This is a fun little book of poems about all kinds of things that can be put into motion: a scooter, roller skates, hot air balloon, wheelbarrow, roller coaster, ice skates, freight train, helicopter, etc. The rhyming poems are short—most of them have no more than four lines. These are poems that young children could quickly learn to memorize and recite. Here are two poems from the book:

Lawn Mower

Chewing grass
is all she knows.
She never moos,
just mows and mows.


Sailboat

Wind-catcher,
water-skipper,
white-sailed
wave-dipper.

Roar and More
Written and illustrated by Karla Kuskin
Harper & Row, 1956, 1990

This is Karla Kuskin’s first published book of poems. It began as a project for a class she was taking while a student at the Yale School of Design in the 1950s. Originally published in just two colors—black and yellow—the book was reissued in 1990 in full color.


This is a delightful book of short rhythmic, rhyming poems about different animals (elephant, tiger, fish, snake, kangaroo, cat, dogs, mouse, etc.) and the sounds they make. Each animal gets four pages—or two two-page spreads. There is an illustration of and a poem about the animal on the first two pages and the sound that the animal makes on the second two pages.

First two-page spread about the elephant:

The elephant’s nose makes a very good hose
Or maybe a holders for flowers.
It can snore, it can croon
Or trumpet a tune.
It has most remarkable powers.

Second two-page spread:
HOOOOOOOOOOONK


Click here to read some of the poems and view illustrations included in Roar and More.

Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young
Selected by Jack Prelutsky
Illustrated by Marc Brown
Alfred A. Knopf, 1986


Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young is a wonderful general anthology of poems about many different subjects: animals, weather, seasons, picnics, feelings, and childhood activities. It includes poems by Dorothy Aldis, John Ciardi, Eleanor Farjeon, Aileen Fisher, Mary Ann Hoberman, Karla Kuskin, Myra Cohn Livingston, David McCord, Eve Merriam, Lilian Moore, Christina Rossetti, Robert Louis Stevenson, and others. Marc Brown’s cartoonlike illustrations add to the humor and childlike wonder expressed in many of the selections. This is a “must have” anthology for parents and teachers of young children.

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At Blue Rose Girls I have a special Favorite Poem Project video of Stephen Conteaguero talking about his life and reciting the poem Politics by William Butler Yates in honor of Memorial Day.


Susan Taylor Brown has the Poetry Friday Roundup today.

5 comments:

Janet Wong said...

Thanks, Elaine!

A simple way for teachers to create a Poetry Suitcase is to make it a homework assignment. Hand out large index cards and tell the children that they have one week to find a poem. It could be a short poem, long poem, poem they love, poem they hate...whatever: they just need to write it down on the index card.

Next they need to find some prop to tie to the card. For instance, if the poem was about trees, they could tie it to a branch. One week after giving the homework assignment, a teacher will have a Poetry Suitcase full of dozens of poems and props that could be very fun to share, perhaps during the last 5 minutes of the day, when kids are especially wiggly...

Elaine Magliaro said...

Janet,

Thanks for the great suggestion!

jama said...

The Poetry Suitcase is a delightful idea -- thanks for the link to Mama without Borders. I smiled as I scrolled through your featured collections. So many good poems and happy moments.:)

Catherine said...

What a great idea! Thanks so much, Elaine for sharing. I can't wait to try this with students.

laurasalas said...

I am totally creating a poetry suitcase for my school visits. How fun to give kids a few minutes where THEY control which poems are being read to them! Of course...one more big thing to drag along:>/

Love those poems from Go! Just went and put that on reserve at my library. Thanks, Elaine!