The ancient Greek word for poetry (poesis) is translated "to create". Like me, maybe you haven't really considered the definition and origin of poetry since that last literature class you took in college. I found a comprehensive, yet brief and interesting explanation of "WHAT IS POETRY" here.
Poetry, with its rhythm and rhyme, is perfect for reading aloud, and is very easy for children to memorize. It does not always have to rhyme, but it is always about expression and emotion. Parents and teachers need to search for fun, thoughtful, and creative poems that will set children on the road to appreciating this literary art. (If you're interested in poetry for babies and toddlers, you can read my earlier post about Mother Goose Rhymes).
There are classic poets, such as Edward Lear, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jane Taylor, A.A. Milne, and Christina Rossetti, whose long-cherished works will help paint wonderful pictures on the canvas of your child's imagination...
Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling
The wind is passing thro'.
Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads
The wind is passing by.
We can also introduce our kids to modern poets, including Jack Prelutsky, Shel Silverstein, and Tony Mitton, to name a few. Jim Trelease comments, from his READ ALOUD HANDBOOK:
One of poetry's strengths is its brevity. A poem is not a novel or a short story, yet it can be very revealing in its smallness--like one of those see-through Easter eggs. A poem should add up to something, a slice of life. One expert put it this way: "Unless a poem says something to a child, tells him a story, titillates his ego, strikes up a happy recollection, bumps his funny bone--in other words, delights him--he will not be attracted to poetry regardless of the language it uses."
Click here to see and read the Lulu.Poetry list of Greatest Children's Poems Ever Written.
And go to Classic Children's Poems to download free poetry for parents and teachers.
ANTHOLOGIES for ages 4 and up:
THE RANDOM HOUSE BOOK OF POETRY FOR CHILDREN, compiled by Jack Prelutsky. Illustrations by Arnold Lobel.
TALKING LIKE THE RAIN, compiled by X.J. Kennedy and Dorothy M. Kennedy. Illustrations by Jane Dyer.
ELOISE WILKIN'S POEMS TO READ TO THE VERY YOUNG, compiled and illustrated by Eloise Wilkin.