For National Poetry Month or any time of the year, read poetry daily to your kids. It doesn’t have to be poetry specifically written for kids either.
But my kids weren’t excited about the whole poem a day idea of mine. At all.
So first, I had to find poems they would like and second, find poems they would understand.
But even that was harder than I thought. Until I got appy. See my process of discovering what worked for my kids.
1. Poetry Books for Kids
I suggest visiting the library’s poetry section and browsing the poetry anthologies to find good poems for kids. (I recommend using books vs. the internet because there are fewer poems on the internet due to copyright issues.)
When you pick poems, start with a subject or topic of interest, dogs or cats perhaps. Choose funny poems. Choose poems whose language creates vivid images in your mind. Choose your favorites and share those.
Copy down the poems on a notecard or small piece of paper.
Or, if the poem is particularly long, start with a fun phrase. Copy just an excerpt of the poem. This worked MUCH better for my kids to start.
If you want to purchase poetry anthologies for kids, I recommend:
Poetry Speaks to Children with a CD of poems read by the poets, edited by Elise Paschen, illustrated by Judy Love, Wendy Rasmussen, and Paula Zinngrabe Wendland
Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat, edited by Nikki Giovanni with a CD!!
Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
My favorite novel in verse about poetry, Love That Dog by Sharon Creech. AWE-mazing and might just get you writing poetry!
NOTE: When you’re picking out anthologies, look to be sure the poets include females. There are tons of anthologies who are dated, using old white men poets. While they are fine poets, there are so many amazing female poets that get neglected and it’s something to consider.
–> I highly recommend the books with CDs. Poetry is meant to be heard, not read.
2. Poem in Your Pocket Book
I’m enjoying the Poem In Your Pocket For Young Poets book edited by Bruno Navasky. The poems include selections from both male and female poets, many of them I’m hadn’t read before. Because the poems rich in sensory images, they’re ripe for illustration which is a fantastic way to get kids to think deeply about the meaning of the poem.
Tear out a poem for your kids to read each day. This is HARD stuff so check out how making illustrations helps unlock the meaning of the poem. See my post on unlocking poetry with art.
3. Pocket Poetry App
I’m so happy about the Pocket Poetry app because my kids LOVE technology so tying in tech with poetry means poetry a chance of getting through.
Sure enough, since we downloaded the app, JJ has been checking the day’s poem and if she likes it, reading it to me. YEAH!
Got appy kids?– get this app!
Pocket Poetry by Trevor Fountain is FREE but rated 12+.
Share the Poems with Your Kids
I’m using a small bucket for our poems. Every day, I pick a poem to read to each child and let them keep it for the day. If they don’t like it, they return it to the bucket and get another.
JJ is writing down poems she likes from the app. Hooray!
Would this work for your family?
Try it for a month like we are. See what happens!
Download my "Can't Put 'Em Down" book lists for your kids ages 3 - 13.
Also, I'll send you a bonus "23 Reasons to Read" printable poster!