Why Reading Poetry is So Important for Children

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little girl reading

Here on the iStoryBooks blog, we talk a lot about the importance of reading time with your children and how interactive eBooks can be a great way to start them off on a lifelong love of reading and literature. Reading has so many benefits to a child, including building critical thinking, imagination and vocabulary skills. But what about poetry? Reading poetry like nursery rhymes to your children can have benefits all on their own. Here are some great reasons why you should work poetry into your reading time with your child.

Language Skills

Poetry often uses devices such as meter and rhyme as an important part of the structure of the piece. This rhythm and rhyme helps the work stick in the minds of those who hear them. It can also be a great way to improve language skills and word association in children. As kids learn to rhyme, they will seek out new words and new uses for existing words. This allows them to greatly expand their linguistic building blocks.

Better Readers

Experts agree and studies show that if a child is able to memorize at least eight nursery rhymes or short poems by their fourth year, they will become the best readers in their class by the time they are eight years old. This is a stunning statistic that holds true — nursery rhymes help your child read better and learn to love reading!

Physical Coordination

Reciting nursery rhymes can actually improve your child’s physical development. It’s true; as children learn to recite passages of meter and rhyme, they become more aware of the phonics involved in creating these sounds, and they improve their overall tongue and mouth movements and breath control. Better yet, they learn these skills naturally without even trying or realizing they’re learning skills. Innate learning is often the best, most natural kind.

Cognitive Skills

Reading poetry and rhymes allows children to learn how similar-sounding words can have very different meanings. They are better able to see the patterns in speech and literature and apply these patterns in their own clever turns-of-phrase. Learning how these patterns can be used and fit together allows them to improve their cognitive learning skills and teaches them to analyze the meanings of words through context. They become better at visualizing concepts through the words that they hear.

Emotional and Social Development

Poems and the rhythms they use help kids to build a sense of humor and whimsy. They learn to create inside jokes and form clever uses of wordplay. These are important coping mechanisms that are vital to a child’s social development. In addition, rhymes can become a source of comfort for children in stressful times. They can, when feeling down or anxious, call to mind a favorite rhyme to which they can cling as an anchor for good feelings.

There are many reasons why reading poetry and cleverly-worded works of literature can benefit your child. Why not take a look at our expansive list of free interactive eBooks, and then look at the wealth of other early literacy tools we have available, and get your child a head start today?