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Robin Pizzo, WKAR director of education, responds to frequently asked questions from parents and educators

Q: Can poetry be used to develop better readers?

Image courtesy of Microsoft.

A: Yes! Poetry can help develop better readers because it uses multiple literary elements to express meaning. Plus, kids love it.

April is National Poetry Month, providing a perfect opportunity to engage young readers with rhythm, rhyme, and recitation. Poetry is often considered not complex enough to strengthen reading skills; however, poems are perfect for the task simply because children enjoy them and can easily memorize them. Think back to all the nursery rhymes you still can recite.

In the article, Why Poetry for Reading Instruction? Because It Works! Nichols, Rasinkski, Rupley, Kellogg and Paige define poetry as “to include all forms of English rhythmic language that are intended to be read orally and silently, such as traditional poetry, nursery rhymes, song lyrics, jump rope chants, cheers, and even nonsense forms of language.”

For young learners to become better readers, they need to develop visualization skills, a proficiency in word recognition, information recall, automaticity and an ability to comprehend beyond the literal. A good poem provides opportunities to practice these strategies because of its creative content and limited text structure.

Challenge yourself to read or write a new poem each day with a child this month. Then continue to have fun with poetry all year long to help children become better readers.

Happy Learning,
Mrs. Pizzo

Robin Pizzo leads the education outreach efforts of WKAR Public Media at Michigan State University, the PBS and NPR affiliate serving Michigan's capital region. Robin convenes partnerships and coordinates station initiatives such as WKAR Family and Ready to Learn to bring workshops, learning tools, and other resources into the community to help kids be resilient, lifelong learners.
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