Poetry: Focusing on Feeling

One of the amazing things about poetry is how it allows the author to express his feelings in an interesting and descriptive way.  When teaching your children about poetry, try to help them see how the author expresses himself in the poetry.

Read for Feeling

Have your child read the poem silently to himself and then out loud to you.  Ask your child how the poem makes him feel.  (You may need to list a few emotions for ideas to get him started.)  Remember, one of the great things about poetry is that each person can view a poem in a different way.  Don’t correct your child if he doesn’t feel exactly what you do from a poem.  Instead ask him to explain why he felt that way about the poem.

Identify Feeling Words

A poet will choose certain words that help him express a certain feeling in a poem.  Once your child has decided what feeling the poem gives him, talk about what words in the poem made him feel that way.  Go through the poem and underline any words or phrases that he lists.  You could also discuss why the poet chose those words or other words the poet could have used instead.

Poems Full of Feeling

Here are some simple poems that each have a pretty clear emotion attached to them.

  • “Eletelephony” by Laura Richards
  • “Daddy Fell into the Pond” by Alfred Noyes
  • “Dora” by T.E. Brown
  • “My Shadow” by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • “Robin Redbreast” by William Allinghamn
  • “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Lawrence Thayer

You can also extend this lesson by encouraging your child to reread the poems out loud in a voice that expresses the same feeling they felt in the poem.  For example sad poems could be read slower and quieter.  Excited poems would be louder and quicker. Encourage your child to experience and relate to the feelings of others through the poems that you read with him.

How do you help your child understand the feelings portrayed in poems?

Photo by: Enokson

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