Walking School Bus Kids Perform Poetry in Motion

Submitted
Posted 4/8/21

The Walking School Bus, that parade of children who walk to Fairhope West Elementary, is ready for National Poetry Month.

One volunteer on each weekday morning in April will recite a poem to the …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Walking School Bus Kids Perform Poetry in Motion

Posted
The Walking School Bus, that parade of children who walk to Fairhope West Elementary, is ready for National Poetry Month. One volunteer on each weekday morning in April will recite a poem to the rest of the pack. It’s a wildly popular activity, and some kids put their own spin on it. “One child memorized his poem, coupled it with a tune, and sang it to me as we walked to school,” says Charlene Lee, Walking School Bus director. Fairhope Teen Services librarian Allyson Russell started the tradition three years ago and continues to provide a small box filled with short poems. Each student chooses a printed verse in March and then practices in preparation for National Poetry Month in April. “I tell them if you read it before going to bed and first thing in the morning, you’re going to know it,” says Russell. “Children are biologically predisposed to retain information.” Subjects range from silly to serious, and poets vary from Jack Prelutsky to Walt Whitman. Memorizing poetry exposes children to new literature, of course, but also stretches them socially and gets them used to public speaking, Russell says. “When you have a poem in your head, you can trot it out to impress friends and family,” she says. The Fairhope Library sweetens the deal by offering a special backpack charm to any student who recites a poem or reads a poem aloud to one of the Youth Services librarians in April. The Walking School Bus, now in its 8th year, is a program of the Baldwin County Trailblazers. It is the only daily walk to school program in Alabama. For more information, https://fairhopewalkingschoolbus.weebly.com/ National Poetry Month is a celebration of poetry organized by the Academy of American Poets. To learn more, see https://poets.org/national-poetry-month/