The Core of Literacy: Podcast Episode 136

Apr 18, 2018 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team


Andrew Pudewa was back in Oklahoma last week, and he and Julie Walker met to discuss one of this month’s themes: poetry. By including poetry in a child’s developing years, you are providing a host of benefits.

The benefits of poetry begin simply by listening to it. When a child listens to poetry, the words “tickle the ears.” Additionally, listening to poetry expands the vocabulary. Andrew describes it as “furnishing the mind.” This “furnishing” of the mind doesn’t end with vocabulary, though. Poetry also introduces richness of thought and appeals to the imagination through the figures of speech, or tropes, that it utilizes, including alliteration, assonance, rhyme, rhythm, metaphor and simile.

When a child begins to memorize and recite poetry, the benefits are magnified. Again, memorizing and reciting poetry is fun to do. And by reciting it, a person transfers passive vocabulary into his active vocabulary. This is important. Having a large database of vocabulary is empowering. Not only does a large vocabulary correlate with higher SAT scores and higher income later in life, but it liberates a person to fully consider and respond to ideas. A person with a large vocabulary is not easily manipulated by the world and its messages.

Finally, when a person writes poetry, he encounters even more benefits. Writing poetry is contemplative. Writing poems down frees the mind and promotes thoughtfulness about the words that are written. And by putting those words down on paper, it allows the writer to engage in a continual process of refinement.

Andrew asserts that when you read, recite, and write poetry, you are participating in the “core of literacy” that connects us back to poetry’s foundations through epics like Gilgamesh, Beowulf, and Homer’s Odyssey. Check out Podcast 136 and listen to Andrew and Julie expand upon these ideas even more. Be sure to click on the links as well. And don’t forget that we are holding a drawing that will give you the opportunity to win a full level of our popular poetry memorization program, Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization. It’s an excellent way to jumpstart your way to enjoying poetry with your students today.

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