Thursday, 26 April 2012

Introducing Poetry to Preschoolers

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Poetry for Preschoolers
Poetry Collages for Preschoolers
 Here's a fun early literacy activity for introducing poetry to preschoolers. 
Word play and poetry collages!

Early Years Literacy Activities
Early Years Literacy Activities
I don't know if I've ever mentioned it, but I have a degree in creative writing - over the years I've worked on many ways to inspire my own creativity - now it's time to get started inspiring the kiddos!

This technique is usually called 'cut-ups' and is inspired by William Burroughs (not exactly your average bedtime reading I know!) - he would write entire manuscripts, cut them up and get his interns to reassemble them, he believed he was uncovering the hidden meanings in his text - I think it makes for fun creative writing prompts and cute nonsense rhymes for kiddos!

Introducing Poetry in the Early Years
Literacy Ideas for Toddlers

I always try to get some poetry out of the library - Michael Rosen, Edward Lear and Spike Milligan are some of our favourites. I'd definitely recommend picking a couple up, along with all your regular story books. Poems are shorter so good for kiddos with shorter attention spans, plus you naturally read in a different tone and rhythm, plus lots of kid's poetry rhymes and so introduces a whole new relationship between different words. 

Word Collages Literacy Ideas for Preschool
Introducing Poetry to Preschoolers

For older kids you could use your creations as creative writing prompts - pick out particular words or combinations of words that appeal to them, use them as a title of a new piece of work, or include them in another poem. I used to keep notebooks of random word combinations I loved for this reason! 

You could also turn this into a spelling and sight words activity by cutting out individual letters and rearranging them - or go a bit Dr Seuss and make up your own words! Children learn that words have power and have fun playing around with this!

Word Play in a Print Rich Home
Preschool Poetry Activities

This idea works on reinforcing the idea that all those funny squiggles on a page actually say something - this is useful in lots of ways, lately I'm convinced of John Holt's philosophy, that you cannot teach children to learn meaningless symbols (ie letters and phonics) in the hope that one day when they acquired enough of them they will then want to read, you have to give them a reason to want to read right now! A child is motivated to want to communicate, in the same way that adults around them do, they don't care that they don't know "enough" letters or the "right" sounds yet! 

Introduce your children to poetry and they will naturally want to recreate it - I truly believe that poetry is fun with words and can appeal to all children!

Literacy Ideas for Early Years and Preschool
Wordplay Activities


  1. Love this idea! Can't wait to try it with my daughter when she gets older. Visiting from the Weekly Kid's Co-op...wanted to let you know that the link didn't work..there's a %20 at the end of the URL and it sent me to a dead page. Just wanted to let you know!

  2. Pinning this to do with my oldest. He is reading anything he can get his hands onto lately and would love putting words together in this manner.

  3. Neat - saw this on pinterest. We collect words, glue them on cardstock, and put them in our "word box." Been meaning to do a post about that for a while.

  4. A fun idea. My daughter loves books and listening to stories and I've just got our first poem book out of the library and she's loving it.

  5. This is a great idea! The Clubhouse Kids love to cut words and letters out of magazines, now we can string them all together and see what they come up with. Thanks for sharing :)

  6. What a fun idea. I love poetry, and writing. This is a great way to embed that love in our children. Thanks for sharing with Tuesday Tots

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