Table of Contents
Fifty Ways to Use Poems
Poetry Links to Phonics Lessons
Sample Poems
Values and Goals of Poetry in Kindergarten Classrooms

Sing a Song of Poetry rolls off the tongue and moves the heart and spirit, if not the feet and hands. Rhythmical language of any sort delights young children as it surrounds them with the magical sounds of dancing words. But poetry, verse and song provide the magic of teaching as well; indeed, oral language is the doorway to the world of written language and the foundation for literacy. As kindergartners respond to the sound patterns, intriguing words, and inspiring ideas they find in poems, songs, and rhymes, they are learning invaluable lessons about the ways in which our language works - knowledge that will serve them well as they become readers and writers.

The poems, songs, and rhymes in this volume are a rich source of language, ideas, and imagery that will help kindergarten children use and enjoy oral and written language. This volume is a companion to the lessons described in Phonics Lessons, Grade K: Letters, Words, and How They Work (Pinnell and Fountas 2003, Heinemann). It can also be used as a stand-alone resource for language and literacy opportunities in any early childhood or primary classroom.

Experiences with poetry help children become aware of the phonological system of language and provide a foundation for matching sounds with letters, letter clusters, and word parts. You can use poems, chants, and songs to help children:

  • Listen for and identify rhyming words.
  • Connect words that have the same beginning, ending, or medial sound.
  • Begin to match sounds to letters in words.
  • Introduce the culture, traditional language, and rhythmic patterns of nursery rhymes.
  • Stimulate and enrich language development.
  • Promote phonemic awareness by helping them notice words, syllables, rhymes, and beginning and ending sounds.
  • Enhance oral language skills.
  • Instill an appreciation of poetry and prose.
  • Build vocabulary.
  • Experience meaningful print.
  • Participate in fluent phrased reading.
  • Build meaningful concepts about print.
  • Introduce letters and set the scene for letter recognition.
  • Provide a base from which to explore writing.

Young children love poetry with rhythm and rhyme; the language of poetry sings inside their heads. As they grow older, they will learn to appreciate poetry without rhyme, but rhymes and songs are the staple of early childhood and for good reason.

Poetry provides resources for the heart and spirit. Immersing children in simple poetry at an early age instills a lifelong habit of enjoying language and seeking out poetry in order to expand one's vision. Poetry joins us to the past and to our fellow human beings in the present.

Review the Values and Goals of Poetry in Kindergarten Classrooms chart.

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