Children are very good at creating mental images from words. Name one thing and a child will tell you all kinds of details about that thing… and every child will have his/her own creation from that same word. Allowing children opportunities to create mental images from words is one way to improve LITERACY. Reading is built upon the creation of mental images. Writing is built upon the creation of mental images. It’s these mental images that bring our children on great journeys with WORDS.
Take a little walk today along a shop-lined street with American poet and writer Amy Lowell… and see for yourself the grandness and fullness of your child’s imagination. It’s a grey, windy winter’s day. Stop in front of the little shop with the RED SLIPPERS in its window…
RED SLIPPERS by Amy Lowell
Red slippers in a shop-window, and outside in the
street, flaws of grey,
Read the poem with your child. Ask your child to describe the Red Slippers in the shop window; what are you picturing in your head? Are they dress-up shoes? Are they plain or sparkly? Do they have straps or high heels or open toes? Are they children’s shoes or grown-up shoes? Are the red slippers like the ones in The Wizard of Oz? Are they girl shoes or boy shoes? Are they bedtime slippers? Ballet slippers? Are the red slippers sitting on a pedestal way up high? Are there other shoes in the shop-window? Is the window clean and shiny? Does inside the store seem warm and cozy? Your child will build an entire scene from these simple words: red slippers in a shop window.
Now the great contrast to the red slippers inside is the weather outside the shop-window, in the street. This is where you and your child are standing! It’s a grey day of wind and sleet. What are you wearing on your walk on this windy day? Can you feel the sleet on your face or hands? Are you wearing boots? What do your boots or shoes look like? Are they as lovely as the red slippers in the shop-window? Do the red slippers draw your attention inside? Do the red slippers make you forget the flaws of grey for a moment?
Amy Lowell’s poem RED SLIPPERS offers a universe of images in 3 short lines of verse. You may want to offer your own images of the red slippers and grey day, too. Even decide if you’re going to go into that shop to purchase the red slippers! But wait… would you wear the red slippers in this weather? This little poem will brings lots of images, lots of words and lots of fun to your day and your child’s day.
LITERACY is all about the WORDS – Written, Spoken, Felt.
Go on… take this walk with poetry today. “To read a poem in January is as lovely as to go for a walk in June.”