Poetry Baskets in Preschool

preschool poetry basket literacy activity
Photo Source: countingcoconuts.blogspot.com

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? When thinking about children and poetry, Poets.org surmises,

"Poetry is the liveliest use of language, and nobody knows more instinctively how to take delight in that playfulness than children."

Poetry is the place where imagination, self-expression, rhyme, and whimsy collide to open up a new literary world. It can seem daunting at first, but with the right foundation, students can learn to appreciate if not love poetry. Mary Ann of Counting Coconuts offers a fantastic idea for incorporating poetry into the preschool classroom - poetry baskets! Poetry Baskets

Here are the important elements of a poetry basket and a few things to remember:

  • Choose short, simple poems.
  • Look for poetry with great imagery, vocabulary words, and even relevant sight words.
  • Print the poem with relevant pictures and clip art to reinforce concepts.
  • Add relevant manipulatives to use in acting out the poem and to hold while reading.

Start out by having your students close their eyes and just listen as you read the poem. Discuss the 'mental images' they crafted in their head as they listened. Show your preschoolers the poem printout (with images), discussing why you chose to include each particular image. Throughout the week, invite your students to practice reciting the poem using the pictures as clues. You'll be amazed at how fast they pick it up!

Next, introduce poetry 'reading' by incorporating the text along with the images. As your students recite the lines, follow along, pointing to each word. Provide students with small poetry cards or create a poster of the poem for students to continue this practice during free time or at the literacy center. This is a fantastic exercise for memorizing poetry, practicing one-to-one correspondence, and strengthening reading skills (i.e. following the line from right to left as well as the 'return sweep' from the end of one line back to the start of the next).

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