Poetry Teatime: Unexpected benefits
Teatime Thursdays have become a regular part of our homeschool in the past several months. My children are young, seven, five, and three, but the value that I’m seeing by something so simple as having regular tea and reading poems and sort stories together is priceless.
Allie, my oldest, has never been a storyteller or enjoyed reading out loud. She has been reading far above her age for as long as I can remember, but has always been a little self conscious reading out loud since she mispronounces so many words. It’s hard to encounter many words and know what they mean, but have no idea how they are pronounced because you have only read but never heard them. The funny and fairly simple poetry of Shel Silverstein have been such an encouragement to her to read out loud. She loves getting to the punchline of some of the poems and watching her brother laugh.
My five year old has always been a pretty creative little guy, but he has spent a lot of time avoiding read alouds. His little body is so full of energy that he can’t sit still, not that he is really expected to, and his brain is always filled with ways to expand on a story or make it his own. Tea and poetry has been fun for him because he sits there quietly eating and drinking his tea while listening to poems.
Perhaps one of the most unexpected things about incorporating teatime into our lives is how it would encourage my freshly minted three year old. Grady has always been quiet, and mellow, and very independent. He does his own thing and has no concept that he isn’t a forty year old man. When he started to bring his own books to tea and poetry to read to us my heart soared. Of course he isn’t reading yet, but he brings books to the table and “reads” them to us. He has brought several Thomas the Tank Engine books or his favorite book “The Big Hungry Bear and the Red Ripe Strawberry” and sits there with his earl gray tea reading us his version of the story. I’ve been writing down his stories in a notebook and he knows it is his very own writing notebook. In addition to the stories that he writes that I’ve recorded, he has scribbled several of his own stories. Yes, they are literally just scribbles at this point, but he will pick up his notebook at dinnertime and read those scribbles to daddy. One of the things Julie had said in a podcast was how recording those stories taught kids that their words were valuable and important (I’m paraphrasing of course.) My three year old already knows that his words in his own notebook are important and worthy of sharing with someone.
And for me, well I love watching my kids grow in a love of good poetry and confidence reading out loud and telling their own stories. And brownies, I love getting to eat more brownies.