Poetry is a wonderful way to enrich and build your child’s language. For the preschool gang, hearing the rhyme and rhythm sets the stage for emergent literacy skills–hearing the change in sounds at the end of words and recognizing that individual sounds form a word. As children enter school, poetry shows them that language is fun, helps them be inventive with words and descriptions, and calls on their creative side.
Each holiday season, I give my students a book as a gift. This year I am giving my elementary aged children Jack Prelutsky’s new book, My Dog May Be a Genius. When one of my second graders opened it yesterday his mom said, “Oh, every year Ryan’ class has to recite a poem and they have to limit the Jack Prelutsky poems selected because he is so popular! Kids and adults laugh out loud at his clever, entertaining poems about life and its silliness. There is the one about “The Underwater Marching Band” where the members of this famous band are “renowned for never having played a single sound on land.” His use of enriching vocabulary set this poet apart. “Gusto, unmitigated fear, undaunted knowledge, undismayed, undaunted, and undeterred” are just a few words in his marching band poem to challenge and build language.
Give this to a child, use it in speech language therapy, read aloud to your class or share it at the dinner table or bedtime. As the book jacket says, “Have you ever sat with a skunk in a courtroom, shopped for a dinosaur, or conversed with a Bupple a Wosstrus, a Violinnet or a Celloon? Take on this book and you’ll have a hilarious adventure with language.