How often do you read or write poetry? How often do you engage your students in reading and writing poetry? Poetry is a great form of expression, and its value has greatly increased greatly since the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Although for some, poetry might be considered an old form of writing, it has proven to be a very effective tool to help children of all ages to convey feelings of love, loss, and hope. Teachers and organizations such as UNICEF – “Mask not Muted: Young Poets Reimagine their World” (1) have utilized poetry as an effective tool to provide children with emotional support. The Save the Children organization reported that the Covid-19 Pandemic affected the lives of billions of children. To gain a better sense of how they feel, children from countries around the world were invited to write short poems about their experiences (2).
At this time, we understand that students are busy with exams and are looking forward to the summer We encourage you to pause and read poetry to your students. You may want to start with poems by Amanda Gorman, the first -ever National Youth Poet Laureate and role model for young people. In addition, we recommend the poems published here that illustrate the emotions of children during the height of Covid-19 until today. The first poem, “Confinement”, is about the virus and the dutiful acceptance of limitations imposed by the Pandemic. The second poem, “The Ballad of Spring” was written a just recently and it does not even name the Pandemic. This poem is a hopeful ode to Spring and Summer, and as Noah the 9-year-old author says, “It’s finally time for us to play”. As you continue reading, you will discover more ideas to develop your budding poets into enthusiastic creators and poetry readers.
Poetry Appreciation The value of poetry has a long history. In ancient times the spoken language was predominant within the classic Greek and Roman societies.
Poetry was an effective way to convey ideas because the words had an emotional impact the audience and therefore, poems were easy to memorize, and ancient religious and cultural myths were transmitted orally from generation to generation. The appreciation for the role of poetry in the development and enlightenment of our world culture is celebrated during the month of April, National Poetry Month. Additionally, we also celebrate World Poetry Day as announced by the 30th UNESCO General Conference session that was held in Paris in 1999. The purpose of the world leaders was “To recognize and emphasize the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind. Therefore, they believe that an International Day must be allocated to support this great human legacy”. (3)
Engage Students in Poetry this Summer This summer, Noah is right - “It’s finally time for us to play”! Adding poetry will enrich and extend your student’s play. Your students will have the opportunity to listen, recite, and memorize. Poetry will also improve children’s creative thinking and problem-solving skills as it requires students to think and interpret the verses they have heard and read. Often, it will take reading a poem several times to truly understand its full meaning. To that purpose, please select a few interesting poems with challenging vocabulary and ideas for your students to practice reading and interpreting poetry. Finally, set up your Google classroom or another online venue and invite them to create and share their own summer poems.
References & Resources
Would you like to schedule professional development to further your learning about
the priceless value of poetry? Please contact the Fordham PDRC team at firstname.lastname@example.org