Poetry for my creativity is like chocolate on my pancakes.
Forcing a kid to read can lead to him or her losing interest in reading, or never gaining interest in reading. The same thing can be concluded about adults, me included. But as kids, people can begin to grow as readers, then nurture that growth as they progress in to and through adulthood. Finding what interest the child is likely to be more effective in inspiring her/him to read. Words are essential. However, this is not simply about reading, but a person using poetry to connect with him or herself. Kids can use colorful language to discover their creativity, express themselves, and learn to communicate in ways they may not be able to otherwise. People exercise their brains when they try creative activities. Water and sunlight are necessary for an apple seed to grow as creative reading and writing are healthy for a child’s brain to grow.
There are certain educational books people have to read as kids, such as history, science, and literature. However, being made to read particular books can be a real turn off for children, which can cause them to lose interest in reading literature early in life. Author Kwame Alexander said in his interview with NPR, concerning his reading experience as a child,”Somewhere around 10 or 11, when my father began to make me read these huge, educational and historical tomes that he had written, I fell out of love with books, because I was being forced to read books that I did not enjoy, that I was not interested in. And so, my love of literature — it was gone around fifth, sixth grade” (Alexander). Like most activities, kids have to find what they enjoy and what they love to read. This doesn’t mean their selection has to be limited to noneducational books. A book isn’t educational if it cannot hold a reader’s attention. This is not to criticize the authors and literature, but to say reading these books should come from desire as well as need. How can children be turned on to reading and writing? They can find what they love and are interested in. Poetry for one can be connected to just about anything. Perhaps, a kid likes playing tennis but doesn’t like literature. If the kid can find a way to bridge literature and playing tennis then reading becomes at least more interesting than before. Why not read poems and books about tennis?
In school, reading was not one of my fortes or passions. I saw it as something teachers said I had to do, else I was incompetent. If I did not read my history textbook, literature book, and the particular stories I HAD to read, then there would be some penalty and judgement passed on by my superiors. Later, outside of high school, I began exploring literature. I started eating and living healthier and running a lot, so I read magazines and books about running and runners, and leading a healthy lifestyle. One day I got turned onto words like almost any adult gets turned on to chocolate and wine. The dictionary became one of my best friends as I wanted to learn more vocabulary. In school, I didn’t really know how to connect my desires with literature. But as I grew into adulthood, I became more curious about words and stories. Now, I have four bookshelves of literature, and read everyday. On top of that, I have written poetry and novels. I am not sharing this to only brag, but to make a point anyone can be turned on to literature. And, poetry was a start for me. Using words to relate to life is still a part of me, and I believe it can help kids connect to their lives and help them to enjoy reading. But I feel it is important reading should be encouraged, and not forced.
Below is a link to an interview with the author of “The Crossover” about the importance of poetry in a kid’s life.