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Multimedia Poetry Performance Can Be Child's Play

Updated on August 22, 2014

Poetry Meets Technology

A llama talked to me on the internet this morning, and a yak did as well. Those talking animals briefly rendered me speechless. The talking photo animation site Blabberize appears to be designed primarily as a source of entertainment, much like other photo effect sites. It has powerful educational applications, though, and could be yet another technological tool to inspire children to recite and perform poetry. Another of my favorite multimedia poetry tools is Animoto: Traditionally, people have used music as a backdrop to their Animoto video creations, but poems work just fine.

I am a big fan of open source recording software as well as online video creation tools and of course kid-safe sharing sites. I tend to be on the lookout for new tools to get kids reciting poetry. In fact, I recently discovered another tool: Fotobabble, a very simple online program that allows people to upload a single photo and spend 60 seconds recording accompanying speech.

Got your headphones handy? This lens is about the how's and why's of mixing poetry together with technology and children.

Why Poetry Recording?

Poetry recitation is a 'one-room-schoolhouse' throw-back that never goes out of style. There is good reason. It's easy to see how the activity develops the 6th literacy strand: speaking. It also fosters numerous other language arts skills.

Children develop reading fluency through repeated readings of text, and performance gives them a context for reading something the requisite 'over and over again'. Performance also gives students a context for taking the time to really understand what they've read. (Generally, one has to comprehend to speak expressively.)

Technology can make the process more fun. It also allows the reader to share the work with people s/he couldn't otherwise, especially if s/he's home schooled, homebound, or just doesn't get to see relatives often.

More About Poetry Performance in the Language Arts

A resource for teachers who are passionate about literacy. The authors, poets and educators, explain how poetry performance can help students meet language arts standards. They also share practical ideas for implementing poetry performance.

The Basics of Poetry Recording and Sharing

One of the simplest platforms to share audio is, a template of the file-sharing site, One can pre-record audio and upload to, but it's also an option to dial in. Fotobabble is also ultra-simple, allowing a person to use their computer's own microphone.

Some platforms, including the video-creations sites, Animoto and Stupeflix, do require pre-recorded audio. This isn't so difficult. There are a number of recording programs that can be downloaded to one's computer, including the open-source program, Audacity.

Google Sites can be set to "private", so they can be a kid-safe way to share media. Google's blogging platform, Blogger, also has privacy settings. One can embed Animoto or Stupeflix video -- or Fotobabble flash -- by using the HTML option for post creation; it's not necessary to actually know HTML.

Stupeflix Poetry Video - My recording. Includes photos taken in Ravenna Park, Seattle.

Blabberize... and Throw in a Little Humor

Blabberize is a site that allows you to upload a picture and audio, and have the character in the photo talk. The program doesn't rely on face recognition software. You select the mouth, so your speaker can be anything from a human to a teddy bear. I wouldn't use it for the more serious fare -- the moving mouth isn't conducive to pensiveness! -- but many children do enjoy humorous poems.

A word of caution about this site: People do upload their finished creations to the site. The site guidelines specify that users must be either over 13 or working with an adult's consent. I think this site has enough educational value, and a lot of parents will find it worthwhile to sit down with their child and "blabberize".

Humorous Poetry Books for Kids

Be Glad Your Nose Is on Your Face: And Other Poems: Some of the Best of Jack Prelutsky
Be Glad Your Nose Is on Your Face: And Other Poems: Some of the Best of Jack Prelutsky
Jack Prelutsky is one of the premier names in humorous children's poetry. His poems are comic, but good-natured.

Multimedia Poetry Lesson Plans

Writing and performance complement each other nicely.

Poetry to Listen to

Get ideas by listening to a variety of readers.

Do you have comments... or ideas to share?


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