If you think you'll find it as fascinating as I did to listen to Lorraine discussing the background to her book, you can catch an interview with her on Bush Telegraph. Scroll down to Thursday 18 November where you can listen to Lorraine’s interview under "Star Jumps".
Today Lorraine shares some tips about getting kids involved in reading and writing poetry.
Encouraging Kids to Read and Write Poetry
One of the most frequent questions I'm asked when I workshop with children is:
Does it have to rhyme? (No, I say, there are other ways of achieving rhythm- there is freedom in poetry that is not restricted to finding the right word to rhyme.)
it's a taste of the world
it's a snippet of the world
it's through my brain's eyes
it's my exploring language
I've condensed down a moment
to read aloud.
© Lorraine Marwood
I just had to quickly write down a small poem to show what poetry does!
What is poetry? Is it the nursery rhymes we sing to our children? Is it Shakespeare and all that high brow stuff?
Or is it in the very fabric of our everyday, if we could only see it, enjoy it,
I have workshopped poetry with children and adults for many years now and I'm constantly amazed at the immediate enjoyment and understanding of how poetry works, once we've allowed the class to take risks, have a go...
What is poetry? It's a chant, a rhythm, a condensing of a moment in time in all its richness. It's the world written down in 3D sensory expression!
How can you as a parent help your child to a lifelong enjoyment of poetry?
- Read nursery rhyme collections- there are many new versions around.
- Read aloud as many poems as you can- anthologies are great to share a variety of poets.
- Read collections like:
Celebrate: The End of Year Reciter Triple D books
Australian poets like Sherryl Clark - Sixth Grade Style Queen (not) Penguin
My own collection: A Ute Picnic and Other Australian Poems by Lorraine Marwood
A Kick In the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms, Paul B Janeczko (in picture book format with examples of forms like cinquain, sonnet.)
At www.lorrainemarwood.com I have a two word strategy to download under the resources section.
The Poem a Week Project: an online resource of many contemporary Australian children's poets.
1.Have fun with words- look at the endless possibilities- like onomatopoeia - the sound of words - like umbrella.
2.Collect little daily observations like:
- a wattle bird's neck glistening with nectar as it feeds from flowers
- or a cat rippling quickly through grass
- or the diamond shine of sun on a leaf after rain
- or the sound of the fridge humming, the conversation of a brother or sister
Keep them in a journal/diary/home made book.
Poems can be visual- like concrete poems or shape poems.
This site is for online writing and shape drawing for concrete poetry!
Lately I've been writing poems with my 7 year old grandson- it's a kind of team effort- he does the drawing, I respond with a simple poem:
The title of the drawing is Jack Frost but I ended up with a poem about puddles- that's the beauty of writing- there is no right or wrong answer- you are in control.
looking into rain
collected in a cup of soil
the worms make cloud tracks
the sun comes to sail its face
in wrinkles of gold
and my gumboots are like strides
of thunder stirring the sky
into muddy tea, only the earth
wants to drink.
© Lorraine Marwood
Now this poem didn't just present itself- I wrote another version about Jack Frost himself. This lead to puddles and what one can see in a puddle, and so this poem evolved.
Above all enjoy the experimentation and fun that comes from poetry. It is concrete images, sensory detail and so vibrant!
Lorraine Marwood is a poet and author- she loves taking writing/poetry workshops for all ages.