Free Verse Friday - Learning About Poetry Through Poetry
Ready to give free verse novels a whirl, but don’t know where to start? Let’s start with a few easy, short reads by authors Sharon Creech and Sally Murphy that are great examples of kids learning about poetry.
In Love That Dog (Creech), Jack shares his wonderings about what makes a poem and his surprise at the variety of styles, everything from rhyming to poems that make shapes. Don’t worry if you are not familiar with the poems Jack mentions reading; they are all printed in the back of the book. The story of his pet dog weaves together each of the poetic styles and tells a story of its own. Be inspired, as Jack is, to create your own poems and tell your own stories. And if you feel like learning more, the follow-up novel Hate That Cat, will add to your poetic repertoire.
Pearl Verses the World (Murphy) is another story of a student learning about poetry, only this time main character Pearl is frustrated because she is being forced to create poems in only one way–rhyming. Pearl knows poems don’t have to rhyme, and indeed doesn’t feel like she has rhyme in her. It isn’t until tragedy strikes that she is finally able to share her gift for poetry and shows others that poems are created from the heart not from a handful of rules.
While both of these novels have sad storylines about loss, they are also filled with funny poems and endearing characters that help lighten up the darkness.
P.S. – On a homeschooling note, in Pearl Verses The World the young girl describes her joy at hearing the bell at the end of the school day when “your legs are carrying you away from the classroom that has been your prison for the day and home, where you belong.” Pay attention to who taught her that poems do not have to rhyme – (hint) it wasn’t her teacher at school.
Check out this study guide posted on Sharon Creech’s website for some more useful information about exploring writing poetry with your kids.
Scholastic has a nice website with a few mini-units on writing poetry put together by author-poets Jack Prelutsky, Karla Kuskin and Jean Marzollo.
Share on Facebook