Poetry Matters!

Apr 07, 2017 | Posted by Nathan King


We all know it: "The Alphabet Song." The earliest written example of the song was by the French composer Bouin in 1761. This simple poetic technique has been used now for centuries to help children remember their alphabet in the correct order. Why? Because kids love rhymes and singing and poetry, and it works! But as students grow older, less and less of their learning involves poetry. After all, as we mature doesn’t it make sense to discard such methods that are only fit for the very young? Perhaps not! Perhaps it’s time to consider some of the benefits of poetry.

Poetic language is a tremendous device to aid memory. Particular patterns and structures are woven in the fabric of poetic language, creating a song of words. When a student of poetry is reciting, this linguistic music helps him to recall the rest of the poem. After a poetic verse has been mastered, it can be recited at will with precision. Poetry’s natural memorable quality ensures that the information stored in the poem remains intact.

Poetry contains nuance of language and meaning. Using literary devices, imagery, and robust vocabulary to communicate, poetry helps train students in the nuances of language. Once students imitate and internalize poetry, they can eventually integrate these advanced elements into their own linguistic toolbox. Masters of poetry are masters of expressing subtle meaning in all of their communications.

Poetry trains speakers. When poetry is recited well, those that listen to it learn new modes and methods for vocal variety. This is called elocution, the skill of clear and expressive speech. Practicing poetry also improves pronunciation, a tremendous benefit for English language learners of all levels. Training up clear, competent communicators requires poetry as an essential educational asset.

Poetry is far more than a childish activity to delight preschoolers and much more applicable than an immature aid to remembering ABC’s. It ensures accurate memory, trains students in linguistic nuance, and creates a powerful foundation upon which to build excellent speakers. Perhaps it’s time to take another look at poetry.


Nathan King, the customer marketing manager for IEW, grew up as the son of a pastor in Wichita, Kansas. Following his graduation from Manhattan Christian College and Kansas State University with a degree in secondary education in history, he worked for thirteen years as a youth pastor in his hometown. Since he began working for IEW, Nathan has enjoyed both the marketing and customer service sides of his position. Nathan and his wife of thirteen years, Melissa, homeschool their four children, but it is his amazing wife that does the lion’s share of this vital mission!

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