In honor of National Poetry Month, today’s Saturday Mornings for Kids will feature renowned children’s poet, Shel Silverstein.
My introduction to Silverstein came as a sixth grade teacher, who after seeing a review of Light in the Attic in the Houston Chronicle, asked for a copy for her birthday so she might share it with her students.
Not long after, Silverstein published Where the Sidewalk Ends, and I treated myself to a copy. This was followed by a purchase of Falling Up.
Becoming enamored more and more by Silverstein’s poetry, I took the poetry collections to school, introduced them, and read several poems aloud, sharing the illustrations like a teacher of much younger students might, holding up the book and panning around so all could see them. Afterwards, I would place the books on a side counter, encouraging students who had finished their work to go over to the counter and look at/read them. We even started a “game” where students would take a fancy bookmark left in each book and move it to one of their favorite poems. I think the students were as interested in each other’s tastes in poetry as they were in the poems themselves. I began this introduction to poetry the second or third year I taught sixth graders, and continued it the remaining four years I taught sixth grade in an elementary setting.
Silverstein has something for everyone. The Giving Tree, one of his most emotional narrative poems, appeals to all ages, and touches the hearts of the hardest-hardened adults.