Some more advice from our LEE & LOW poets! This piece of wisdom is from award-winning author Marilyn Singer. Her first Lee & Low title, A Full Moon Is Rising, is expected later this spring. Some great advice from a woman who really knows poetry!
“My parents knew that reading to their kids was important. But reading wasn’t the only thing they did which shaped my love of books and then of writing. They also sang to me—especially my dad. He had these wonderful pastel-colored HIT PARADE sheets, which contained the lyrics of the most popular songs of the day. Now, we may not have Cole Porter, Ira Gershwin, Johnny Mercer, and all those other great lyricists around these days, but we have plenty of other good ones. I think that singing that stuff to your kids is a marvelous way to inspire musicality, love of words, and a feeling for poetry.
I write many kinds of books, but poems are my favorite things to write. I’m on a mission to get more people to appreciate it. And that starts with parents and with teachers reading poetry themselves and then reading it aloud to kids. Poetry demands to be read aloud. Listen to recordings and pod casts and watch videos of poets and performers reading and learn to read with feeling. Encourage your local school or library to sponsor readings by poets writing for children, and attend them with your kids. Seek out lots of different kinds of poetry to find out what you and your kids like. When you read, don’t rush through the words, but be lively, thoughtful, whatever sentiment the poem calls for. Feel free to talk about what a poem means to you and let your kids tell you what it means to them, but don’t overanalyze it. Enjoy the rhythm, the rhyme (if it does rhyme), the form, the emotions. Read it aloud together if you can. Sing it!”
Marilyn’s new poetry book, A Full Moon Is Rising, will be released from Lee & Low in May. Got your own tips for reading poetry aloud? Share them in the comments below!