Poetry Teatime: A collective “ahhh”

Hi, I’m Julie Bogart. I’m a homeschool
mom with five grown kids and I’m the owner of a company called Brave Writer. A program that teaches language arts and writing to kids between the ages of 5
and 18. I discovered a long time ago that the
writing life thrives when we are saturated in a language rich environment. Kids grow their vocabularies and their
moral imaginations when they are introduced to quality
literature, plays, films, and music. One of the most powerful sources of language in
our culture is poetry, yet most people are afraid of it. Poetry
has been stripped of its magical properties often by classroom
instruction, yet poetry has the potential to be delightful and funny, sentimental and powerful if given half a
chance. When my kids were young I discovered that one of the best ways
to create powerful learning was to pair challenging subject matter with tea and
snacks. When Johannah was eight, I introduced her to Shakespeare by this
method. We laid a pretty table, complete with candles, a whimsical centerpiece,
scones, and a steaming British tea pot. I read to Johannah while she ate her cup of
yogurt and sipped her tea. That first tea time launched a love of Shakespeare and set a
practice in motion that we continued most weeks of my family’s life. Once we tackled Shakespeare, I realized
that poetry would benefit from a similar treatment and thus began our family
practice of Poetry Teatime. I invite you to try it. Here’s how: First, gather a collection of poetry
books. You might have them at home or you may find them at the library. Next, set
the table. Kids love to help. They can light candles
or collect natural items from the yard, like a bit of bark with moss on it or a
pinecone. Set each place with a tea cup or mug, a small plate, and napkin. Make a
treat to share, scones, muffins, cookies, or something as simple as apple slices and
cinnamon toast. Boil water, steep tea. If your kids don’t like tea, that’s okay. Orange juice or hot chocolate or any
other beverage can be served. Once the tea is ready, pour out for each
child. Now pass out the books. Each of your kids will pick a poem to read aloud.
Kids who don’t read yet can pick a poem by photo or illustration and let the
parent read it aloud instead. And you get to pick a poem to read and
share, too. When the poetry reading is finished,
enjoy the tea and treats. No analysis needed. The goal is to simply
enjoy this respite in the morning or afternoon together, taking in the lovely language of poetry. I often call Poetry Teatime the gateway
drug to a language rich lifestyle. My adult kids always want to have teatimes
when they come home and they are actively involved either reading or
writing poetry as adults. If you enter this practice with joy and
trust, I expect you may have similar results. Today thousands of families have
enjoyed Poetry Teatimes. Many share their images on Instagram with the
hashtag #poetryteatime I hope you will, too. Please check our
website for all kinds of suggestions that will enrich your Poetry Teatime
experiences. You can download our free Quick Start Guide to Poetry Teatime now.
I look forward to hearing about your Poetry Teatimes soon.

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