The Power of Poetry in the Fight Against Illiteracy

The Power of Poetry in the Fight Against Illiteracy
By Kym Gordon Moore

Could poetry be an untapped channel in the fight against illiteracy? Poetry is a genre that was once revered as methodical, intellectual, creative, abstract, romantic and tranquil. In a society that is fast-paced and prefers abbreviated distribution of information, poetry may be a little slower and less engaging than videos, listening to music or gaming. Can reigniting our passion and appreciation for poetry help with problem-solving, creativity and enhance learning skills?

According to the most recent reports from the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute of Literacy, approximately 14% of U.S. adults cannot read, which is equivalent to roughly speaking 32 million people. In a day and time where we should not be discussing the enormity of the illiteracy statistics in this country, we are facing alarming rates of people who are either illiterate or functionally illiterate.

Poetry uses one’s background, knowledge, culture, environment and experiences to promote literacy skills through observing, reading, writing and documenting. It reflects sound, language, audio and visual learning styles. Enhancing instruction in knowledge involves igniting the multi-sensory pulse points of an individual. Basic learning and teaching skills encourages education through dialogue, personal stories, axioms and literacy skills.

Valued styles of expression through music, art, dance and poetry helps to awaken our senses that will empower our voices in creative ways. Expressing insights and emotions, whether through rhymed or unrhymed poems, helps reinforce phonics, spelling and word recognition. Poetry is imaginative, creative, helps to empower voices and opens the path for self-expression. Senses are stimulated and connect individuals with others, in order to promote the comfort in expressing thoughts.

Poetry has an uncanny way of penetrating the walls of illiteracy and functional illiteracy, by recognizing and sounding out words through this unique teaching method. By integrating poetry within teaching curriculums, teachers and students may find that it enhances social change and standing, critical thinking and maintains enthusiasm for reading, learning and writing. Poetry has an amazing way of stretching the imagination and creating a dialogue to engage the senses.

Kym Gordon Moore, author of “Diversities of Gifts: Same Spirit” and “Wings of the Wind: A Cornucopia of Poetry” is an award winning poet, author, speaker, philanthropist, certified email marketing specialist and an authority in strategic marketing. She is the administrator of the Tea and Poetry Book Club, co-founder of Favorite Things for a CAUSE and selected as one of the 2013 and 2012 U.S. World Book Night Volunteer Book Givers.

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