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Welcome Friends! Here is a place for teachers, parents, librarians and writers to learn what's going on in the world of book author Karma Wilson.

Poetry lesson for kids….

I feel that rhyme and meter are fundamentals in poetry. Some people say that rhyme is a constraint which places unnatural boundaries on free thought. Others argue that since free verse is easier for children to write, it’s a good starting place. I personally (and it’s simply my opinion) don’t agree. Free verse can be very beautiful, but I feel children should be introduced to it after they have learned to write poetry with structure.  Children naturally tune into and respond to verse. Rhyme and meter set language patterns and vocabulary context into their minds.  They will feel a real sense of accomplishment upon writing their first rhymed poem.

But how do you teach them concepts like proper meter without sounding like the poetry police?  One thing I like to do is have them start out by rewriting popular nursery rhymes and songs they are probably already familiar with. Mary Had a Little Lamb, Little Miss Muffet,  Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star are a few examples. But when rewriting them turn them into a hilarious joke. Don’t shy away from “hee hee” bathroom humor (within limits).  Allowing kids to explore the “forbidden humor” will draw them right into the lesson.

The great thing about this approach is that kids already have the meter footprint in their mind from the original poem.  As you brainstorm ideas with them you can point out where their version strays from the meter of the original and help them think of rewording that fits.

Here is an example (from my upcoming book “What’s the Weather Inside” of a nursery rhyme rewritten in a new and silly way.

Miss Muffet’s Revenge

Little Miss Muffet,

sat on her tuffet

eating a yogurt parfait.

Along came a spider

who sat down beside her.

She squished it

and flicked it away.

 

Karma