Day 22 of 31 Days of Poems for Kids: How to teach a Poem to your kids in just 2 minutes

How to teach a poem to your kids today in less than 2 minutes…

Day 22 of 31 Days of Poems for Kids – TODAY by Frank O’Hara

Just as in the game I Spy, children love to find things in their worlds that delight them.  Colorful things.  Things that begin with certain letters.  Ordinary stuff that become words in a poem.

20th century American poet Frank O’Hara gives us the opportunity TODAY to listen to the stuff that still makes a poem a surprise in the words of things all around us.

Invite your children to open their eyes TODAY and shout out big, glorious, strong, ordinary words/things

TODAY by Frank O’Hara

Oh! kangaroos, sequins, chocolate sodas!
You really are beautiful! Pearls,
harmonicas, jujubes, aspirins! all
the stuff they’ve always talked about

still makes a poem a surprise!
These things are with us every day
even on the beachheads and biers. They
do have meaning. They’re strong as rocks.

Read the poem with your children.

Read it once again, this time really emphasizing the points of exclamation!

Poet Frank O’Hara is giving us the gift to use words in all of their glory.  Even seemingly ordinary words.  Note the first exclamation point and the excitement it brings to the first word of the poem, Oh! The exclamation point is telling us… hang on!  This is important stuff!

The Oh! makes us leap with anticipation.  The next words are already dancing… kangaroos, sequins, chocolate sodas! Talk to your children about how important those little exclamation points are!

Frank O’Hara then speaks directly to the words and the stuff… telling them how beautiful they are!  Then the poet announces completely unrelated words, but words that all add up to the whole of TODAY and each and every day; words that make today and the poem TODAY a great surprise!

The poet is looking around him and re-discovering the joy of stuff and the words that bring the stuff to us.  Pearls, harmonicas, jujubes, aspirins!

Ask your children to look around them, wherever you are, and to shout out words of stuff they see!  Stuff!  Stuff with meaning to them!  Even ordinary stuff!  See how wonderful and exciting and meaningful and strong words and stuff really are.

Discover how words and stuff impact our lives.  See how ordinary really is quite extraordinary and exclamatory! Write down or remember as many of these words as you can and make your own poem today of TODAY! Your words are strong as rocks!

Remember that LITERACY is all about WORDS – Written, Spoken & Felt. Words are worth thinking about and talking about in literature and in life!  How FUN is this!?

*beachheads and biers: footholds and stands (these words/things are with us every day, even in war/death)

If you enjoyed this poem, you may also enjoy:

Fog, by Carl Sandburg
from Five Haiku, by Paul Eluard
Love is, by Nikki Giovanni
Temple Bell, by Yosa Buson
The Snail, by Richard Wright
Evening, by Sappho
The Red Wheelbarrow, by William Carlos William
The White Horse, by D. H. Lawrenc
Dragonfly Catcher, by Chiyojo
The Giraffe, by Ron Padgett
German Shepherd, by Myra Cohn Livingston
Outwitted, by Edwin Markham
My Father, by Yehuda Amichai
Window, by Czeslaw Milosz
I Cry, by Tupac Shakur
I, Too, Sing America, by Langston Hughes
Brotherhood, by Octavio Paz
Lullaby, Akan, African

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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