Poetry is what in a poem makes you laugh, cry, prickle, be silent, makes your toe nails twinkle, makes you want to do this or that or nothing, makes you know that you are alone in the unknown world, that your bliss and suffering is forever shared and forever all your own. ― Dylan Thomas
This is probably why, it is important to introduce children to poetry while they are still at an impressionable age. Expression, rhythm and language can be used to refine the experiences that children have. Children should be shown the way to express themselves through different forms of art, poetry being one. Poetry also exposes us to socio-economic and socio-political influences on a poet, which greatly reflect the history of the times.
Learning poetry and eventually composing poetry enrich the language skills of children. It opens up their mind to the intricacies of language and emotions explored with its aid. Poetry is, after all, a means for communication and many children, while growing up, take recourse to this invaluable method to handle joy and sorrow. Thus, poetry breaks boundaries and helps to unite minds with a common goal and intent. It makes children resilient and more accepting of social changes and diversity of culture. Poetry, therefore, can create global citizens.
In the poetry class, children learn about the different poetic devices like metaphor, symbolism and imagery. The children can, in turn, use these devices to write about themselves, about joyous, humorous or painful experiences that they had not been able to share previously. The best part of writing poetry is that children are not bound by rules of grammar, punctuation and capitalization. Children can truly experience a kind of freedom rarely found in other genres of literature.
Loud reading of poems enhances auditory skills. It taps the potential of those children who are musically inclined and goes a long way in the use of multiple-intelligences in a classroom. Children with an innate sense of rhythm and sound and beats can put poems to music and present to the class or the school. This will surely take the study of poetry out of the text book and into a real and exciting world for them. This will be the stepping stone to composing lyrics which are nothing but poems. Poetry makes children think. Limitations of vocabulary never stand in the way of writing a poem. All that is required is a robust imagination and an insatiable urge to be heard.
Allowing children to analyze poetry and speak about it enhances speaking and listening skills. It also lends an excellent opportunity for the teacher to facilitate an atmosphere of debate and discussion.