To help children understand poetry best, inform them that a poem is best appreciated when heard or read aloud.
Rhyming words are a pair of words that have the same sound. Two or more words can rhyme with one another. Words do not have to be spelled the same to rhyme. To help your child who may be having difficulty understanding rhyming words, have him/her bring out their nursery rhyme books. Children are very familiar with these rhymes and they will be able to see that the word at the end of each line usually rhymes with another word that is at the end of another line. Copy the nursery rhymes on paper and allow your child to use a crayon to connect the rhyming words from each nursery rhyme or poem.
Rhythm is the beat in a poem, song, etc. Usually children in second grade are introduced to poetry and songs that have an even or steady beat. To help your child understand rhythm, read a poem with your child. Encourage your child to clap his/her hands to find the beat. Your child may also want to tap his/her foot to keep the beat. When your child is able to find the beat or movement to the poem or song, this is known as rhythm.
Alliteration is the repetition of initial consonant sounds in two or more neighboring words or syllables. For example, Bees buzz by the window. In this sentence the ‘b” sound is heard in the words bees, buzz, and by. This is known as alliteration. To help your child understand alliteration, have them think of some silly tongue twisters. (Ex. Sally sold seashells by the sea shore.) Have your child pick a letter of the alphabet. He/she may want to first brainstorm a list of words that begin with the letter chosen. This will give your child some ideas as they create their silly tongue twister.
Reading poetry will help your child improve his/her fluency (speed of reading). Have your child pick a poem each week. He/she should read the poem for a few minutes each night. This also will improve vocabulary development. Take your child to the library to pick out a book of poetry. Many poetry books are centered on themes; sports, funny poems, school, etc. This way your child will find poems that he/she is interested in.