Meet Susan Day – grand-parenting expert

I fell in love with poetry as a child. I loved reading it and having it read to me. And as I got older I loved learning what the poems meant. Now I am a published poet. My guest today, Susan Day, an expert on grand-parenting and author of the soon to be released book, The Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing!, writes about how important it is to teach children to memorize, read aloud, and write poetry. Please  welcome Susan Day to Choices.

The Importance of Teaching Children Poetry

by Susan Day

By studying poetry, memorizing and learning how to create poems, children can increase their language skills immensely. When studying poetry children are required to remember the words, and the rhythm or meter, in which the poem is meant to be said. This skill actually plays a powerful part on a child’s ability to learn and recall information from a wide range of subject areas.

Sadly, many classrooms underestimated what an important learning tool poetry is. A poem might be added to an existing study, but rarely are they studied for their own sake.

This is a regretful, because it underestimates how powerful poetry is, and what big role it plays in all our lives. Can you still recite a nursery rhyme? Can you still sing a television jingle from your childhood or sing the songs from the pop band you adored as a teenager?

You’re not alone. We can all recall these forms of poems many years later with only the smallest of prompts; like the first few notes of a song or the opening words of a poem. The words, rhyming patterns and musicality of these poetic forms are deeply entrenched into our minds. We learn most poems, songs and television jingles by just listening to them; by absorbing them like a sponge.

This is typical of rote learning, which involves reciting information until it is known, and then being able to repeat it verbatim. Remember how you learned your times tables? This type of teaching has gone out of favour in some classrooms, but our minds are still processing information we receive over and over again outside the classroom.

The Importance of Memorizing Poems

Learning to recite a poem out loud from memory is a difficult task. It calls on many different functions of the brain, which work independently to work in tangent at the same time.

When a child is required to memorize a poem, and perform it, their brains are being stretched, and as a result strengthened. To my knowledge nothing does this to the same extent as poetry.

This ‘strengthening’ power is then transferred to other areas of study. Learning to recite poems or even nursery rhymes at pre-school will improve a child’s ability to absorb, remember and use other information much better.

Poetry said out loud improves vocalization

Many children have difficulties at some point pronouncing words. However, if they are accustomed to reading poems out loud, they will already have the skills they need to form unknown words by recognizing the syllables in the word.

Reading and writing are two very important functions in any child’s literacy development. However, reading out loud can reveal just how well a child pronounces words.

As an ESL teacher, I know how well my students are absorbing and learning English by how well they read passages out loud. I notice how students are able to answer complex comprehension exercises, but often have no idea how some common words should be pronounced.

Creating Poems from Scratch

Many children love creating poems of their own design. Some balk at the challenge – rhyming words, metres, rhythms – it’s all too hard!

Clever teachers usually introduce writing poems gently with acrostic poems or ones which are written and the children have to find a word that rhymes. Haiku and limericks are two poetic devices which, if introduced authentically, can inspire many a young writer to dreams of becoming a bard.

The Power of Poetry

While poetry can be funny, it is often a very powerful tool writers use to express their inner most desires, fears and ideas about the world.

Words are not all the same, and when they are arranged or manipulated into stanzas, couplets and other poetic forms, they can be life changing. That is why it is important our children learn to appreciate, and even create poetry throughout their lives.

After all, we never know where the next Wordsworth, Keats or Poe will come from. But we do know, the world will be a richer place for nurturing and having them.

About my Guest – Susan Day

Susan Day is an author of 15 books, educator, and a content marketer. Her blog, Astro’s Adventures Book Club, is full of ideas and tips for grandparents who want to build a strong relationship with their grandchildren. In particular, Susan specializes in helping grandparents share their love of books with their grandchildren. Susan is currently writing a book titled, The Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing! that will take you on an insightful journey into what you need to do to become the best grandparent you can be (even better than the one you are now).

Susan lives in country Australia with four dogs, three boss cats, three rescue guinea pigs, and an errant kangaroo. And, apart from blogging, writing and reading; she loves drinking coffee, painting and learning to box. You may connect with her online at:

Thank you, Susan, for being our Choices guest today.

Please come back soon!

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Comments

  1. Thank you for allowing me to share my love of poetry. My mother used to recite her favorite poem to me each day. It started, “There was a donkey one day old…” I haven’t stopped loving poetry since.

    • Madeline Sharples says:

      Thanks to you, Susan, for asking to write for my site. I’m truly honored. Please come back again soon. All best.

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