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It’s National Poetry Month, and I know it can be difficult to take the time to read poetry to kids, especially if you’re not a big fan of poetry yourself. One easy way to get everyone excited about reading poetry is to actually listen to poetry being read well.
Have a reading in your house with our favorite poetry book for kids: Poetry Speaks to Children. (There’s a grown up version as well, but the kid’s version is great.)
The book feels kind of weighty and is full of cute illustrations for many of the poems. It’s the kind of book that belongs spread out over two laps, with the child looking at the pictures while the parent reads.
This is in no way a boring book of poetry for either the kids or the adults, because while the poems are kid-friendly they aren’t childish. There are things here like “The Dentist and the Crocodile” by Roald Dahl, “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll, a bit of “Macbeth” (“double, double, toil and trouble…”) and “Frodo’s Song in Bree” from The Fellowship of the Ring.
There are poems about the potential in pencils and crayons, the feeling of an impending sneeze, the silliness of underclothes hanging on the line to dry (might need to explain that one to today’s kids).
There are poems about dinosaurs and sharks, climbing trees and making art, unicorns and fairies. There’s a real attempt at multiculturalism, too, with poems by African-Americans, American Indians and Asian-Americans.
But probably the best part is the CD that comes with the book, which includes 58 tracks, most of which are the poets reading their own work. It’s amazing to hear Robert Frost reading “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” and Langston Huges talking about and reading “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” stops me in my tracks every time. (This is the same recording.)
The girl loves it, too. She loves hearing the different voices and some of the stories behind them. Another of her favorites is “Brother” by Mary Ann Hoberman, even though she doesn’t have a brother. She loves the tongue-twisty nature of it. I can’t find a good recording online, but it’s two tracks on the CD, one of her reading it normally and another talking about how she wrote it and trying to read it fast. So much fun.
The girl likes to listen to these and has specific favorites she really likes. I love that this started to get her interested in poetry before she could read it, and I hope it will continue to inspire her as she writes her own poetry through the years.
She knows that poetry doesn’t have to be formal or rhyming or about important things. It’s about your life and what you like and who you are. Which I guess really are the most important things of all.
More Resources for Learning about Poetry
Poetry Handwriting Worksheet from 3 Boys and a Dog
How To Write a Nature Poem like Roald Dahl from FrogMom
Silly Limericks for Kids from Schooling a Monkey
http://igamemom.com/enjoy-poetry-kids-fun-activities/ Fun Poetry Activities for Kids from iGameMom
Poetry Books for Children from The Jenny Evolution
Apps for Creating Poetry with Kids from Parenting Chaos
Poetry Printable Copywork for Kids from The Natural Homeschool
Mother’s Day Fingerprint Gift With Printable Poem from Play Dough & Popsicles
Poetry Writing for Kids: Using Metaphors from Planet Smarty Pants
Our Favorite Poetry Book for Kids from Our Daily Craft
Spring Haiku Poetry Worksheet from Something 2 Offer
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