Day 28: 365 Days of Literacy for Kids – Fun, Easy & Completely Do-able

Poems, with their direct simplicity, help us put complex things into perspective.  Take TIME, for example.  We never seem to have enough of it.  We’re always looking for more.  But while we’re looking for TIME, it has a way of passing right before our eyes.  We hardly see it.  Children have a way of wishing TIME to hurry up, too.  “When I’m big” or When I’m older” or “When I’m a grown-up”… roll off the lips of a child like water over a dam.  Do we teach children to wish time away with all of our grown-up rules and busy-ness and harried lives?  The poem WINDOW by 20th century Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz gives us a glimpse from a window of how time happens when we’re not looking…
WINDOW by Czeslaw Milosz

I looked out the window at dawn and saw a young apple tree
translucent in brightness.

And when I looked out at dawn once again, an apple tree laden with
fruit stood there.

Many years had probably gone by but I remember nothing of what
happened in my sleep.

Read this poem with your children.  Ask your children about the speaker, or voice, of the poem (I).  Ask your children to describe their images of the young apple tree in the first 2 lines.  What time of day is it (dawn, the first appearance of daylight)?  How tall is the apple tree?  What color(s) are its branches (dim light of morning has made images slightly blurred, shiny; translucent)?  Are there apples on its branches?  Is the apple tree alone or in an orchard?  Where is the window?  Is the window open?  Is there a breeze?  Is it warm or cold outside?  – Talk about their answers.

Ask your children to describe the apple tree in the next 2 lines.  What time of day is it (dawn once again)?  How tall is the apple tree?  What color are its branches?  Are there apples on its branches (laden with fruit, loaded with)?  Is it the same apple tree as the first one?  Is it the same window?  Is the window open/closed again?  Is it the same season as before?  – Talk about their answers.

Now talk about the last 2 lines.  How much time had passed between the first 2 lines and the next 2 lines (no guess is wrong)?  Why does the speaker say the word probably to guess the years (he truly doesn’t know)?  Where had TIME gone?  Was the speaker really sleeping, or just not paying attention to all the beauty around him?  What happens when we are busy wishing for things to happen, or waiting for things to happen, or waiting to grow up (precious time passes)?  Is the speaker sad that he didn’t pay attention to little moments, like the apple tree growing its wonderful fruit?

What is the lesson of this poem?  Ask your children to look out the nearest window.  What do they see?  Make a decision to look out that same window each day for whatever length of time you decide (week, month, season)… and talk each day about the changes, the moments, or even the sameness as the day before.  Capture time with your children.  Capture moments. Capture words.  Remember that LITERACY is all about WORDS – Written, Spoken, Felt.  The more words, the more concepts, the more your children are prepared for learning.

About Audrey

Audrey McClelland has been a digital influencer since 2005. She’s a mom of 5 and shares tips on her three favorite things: parenting, fashion and beauty. She’s also a Contemporary Romance Author.

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