Poetry can be used to help build a child’s vocabulary. Using the poems of Shel Silverstein to introduce new vocabulary in the classroom will make these new vocabulary words “stick” in children’s minds. When these words are set to rhyme they become easier to recall, and when they are put into context they become easier to understand.
Some poems may have familiar vocabulary words in them already that can be substituted for new vocabulary words. You may change an adjective in a poem to incorporate a new vocabulary word. You may also replace a common word with a less common synonym. Often this is done with familiar nursery rhymes and poems, such as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, but it can be done with any poem or rhyme. Many Shel Silverstein poems can also be altered just enough to introduce new vocabulary words.