Photo by Matt Stensland
South Routt Elementary School literacy teacher Kate Krautkramer listens to first grader Kody Logan read a poem Wednesday evening at the school.
Yampa My sister is lazy
I am crazy
My mom is sweet
My dad eats meat
My chicks like to peep
My dog and cats like to sleep
My horse is named Lasso
My fish died a long time ago
This is my family
I’m happy as can be!
The poem, “My Family,” written and read Wednesday night by South Routt Elementary School kindergartner Jed Kirby, elicited a number of “ahhs.”
Jed was one of about 50 kindergartners through fifth-graders who volunteered to recite an original poem for the school’s third annual Poetry Night at the school in Yampa.
Literacy teacher Kate Krautkramer announced each young poet. The students stood behind a lectern — lit by only a small lamp — to recite their works.
Fourth-grader Dalton Ray, who read his poem, “Old Willow,” said he wasn’t nervous, despite reading in front of a crowd of about 200 teachers, parents and siblings. Dalton said it was the first time he’s read in front of a large crowd.
“I like expressing my writing and letting everybody hear it,” he said. “It just came from my heart.”
Krautkramer, who’s been with the school 12 years, said she created the event for National Poetry Month, which takes place every April. But she said that wasn’t the “real” reason.
“The kids are so good at it,” Krautkramer said. “They’re so naturally poetically inclined. If you give them the opportunity, they’ll do well with it.”
Kim Bruner, whose daughters, kindergartner Kayedence and fifth-grader Dakota, recited their poems, said she thought their experience was a positive one.
“I think it’s good for them to get in front of a group of people and speak,” Bruner said.
Krautkramer said reciting poetry, and speaking in front of large groups at such an early age, helps the students value the spoken word, as well as the written word.
And for some students who may not participate in other activities, she said reciting poetry is a chance for them to “show their colors.”
Fourth-grader Brooke Bracegirdle read her poem, “A Place of my Own,” about a girl who always goes to a tree house by a river when she’s having a good day. She said writing her poem was hard, but she liked the experience.
“It feels really good to me,” she said. “You can express yourself.”
Krautkramer has an undergraduate degree in English, has a master’s of fine arts in poetics and also is a published writer.
After Poetry Night ended, Krautkramer beamed as she discussed the performance of her students.
“To me, it really is such an opportunity and a privilege to work with these kids because they are so deft of imagination,” she said. “It’s an unlimited opportunity to tap that. I think (poetry) gives them a big opportunity for success.”
— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 871-4203 or e-mail email@example.com