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Our curriculum plan includes a ton of reading. It is a balanced mix of fiction, nonfiction, and biographies. We read novels and biographies that complement our history curriculum. We sprinkle in interesting books about science themes. And of course we read plenty of novels for language arts. It can be challenging to fit in enough poetry though.
Reading (and writing) poetry provides a freedom that isn’t often found in other genres. Children are naturally drawn to poetry due to the rhythmic tone. They also like the lack of typical grammar rules and structure. Poems can be long or short, serious or silly, grammatically correct or riddled with grammatical liberties. Poetry can feel like a breath of fresh air.
Even though I believe in the benefits of regularly reading poetry, it can be difficult to work it into my lessons without being intentional.
This is easily remedied by hosting a weekly tea with poetry.
Combining tea with poetry is one of my favorite parts of the Brave Writer lifestyle. It is a simple idea that really packs an educational punch.
I love hosting ‘formal’ tea with poetry. We set the table with a table-cloth, my wedding china, decorations such as a centerpiece and candles, and a variety of home-baked treats. It is a wonderful way to make tea with poetry special.
Sometimes though, life gets in the way and there just isn’t time to spend an hour or more getting ready for tea and poetry. What do we do then? Just skip it until we have more time?
Nope. We just opt for a simple tea with poetry.
Simple Tea with Poetry
A simple tea with poetry strips away all of the nonessential elements. It makes you focus on the goal – creating positive memories/feelings while enjoying poetry.
All you need for a simple tea with poetry is some sort of treat and a few poetry books. I never skip the treats. My rambunctious son is more willing to sit still and listen to poetry if he is also snacking. I’ve said before that Hannah and Ben seem to learn through their stomach, and tea with poetry is no exception. I fill their minds and bellies at the same time.
While I do enjoy baking, sometimes it just doesn’t happen. When I run short on time, I swing by my grocery store or favorite bakery to pick up a special treat. I let my kids choose. Hannah and Ben practice their negotiation skills as they try to convince the other to agree with their treat selection.
Super simple poetry treats include:
- Anything from the grocery store (or local bakery if you are feeling fancy) bakery department or cookie aisle
- Sliced fresh fruit – many produce sections sell it already sliced for a higher price. This might be worth it if you are really short on time.
- Microwave s’mores – just pop the marshmallow on a graham cracker square and microwave it for a few seconds before you add the chocolate.
- Pb and J sandwiches, cut with fun cookie cutters
- Cheese and crackers
No fancy serving utensils required! Feel free to leave the baked goods in their original packaging. Use paper plates and utensils if you are really short on time.
Even though it is technically called tea with poetry, you are not limited to just tea. Expand your drink options to whatever your family likes to drink. We typically stick to hot herbal tea in the cold rainy months, but when the sun finally peaks out, we switch to:
- Iced tea
- Flavored water
- Sparkling grape juice – if we are feeling extra fancy or celebratory
Libraries are full of wonderful poetry books, but in order to throw a simple tea with poetry on short notice, it is helpful to have a few poetry compilations on your home bookshelf.
Keep the poetry books in a specific spot on your bookshelf so you can quickly find them. It does no good to save a few hours on preparing treats if you spend that time hunting down lost books.
Here is what is currently on my poetry shelf:
- Poetry for Young People: Walt Whitman edited by Jonathan Levin
- Poetry for Young People: Rudyard Kipling edited by Eileen Gillooly
- Cracks in the Sidewalk by Crystal Bowman (This is one of our favorites for silly and relatable children’s poetry books.)
- Poetry for Young People: Edgar Allan Poe edited by Brod Bagert
What poetry compilations do you love? I am always looking for new books to add to our collection!
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