When I said poetry, did you wrinkle your nose? Unfortunately, many people grow up with a distaste for poetry, because it wasn’t introduced to them in a positive way. Poetry helps children learn, and children actually adore the rhythm and rhyme of poetic verse. April is National Poetry Month, so here are seven ways to share poetry with children:
7 Ways to Share Poetry with Children
Fill a Basket – Whether by the couch or bedside (or even on the back of the toilet), keep a basket of poetry books handy – if you don’t have poetry OUT, you won’t read it! Throw in a book for yourself too!
Post a Poem – Find a hand-lettered version on Etsy, or create a digital image and frame it. Hang a poem over your kitchen sink, or by your workstation. Even in the car! It doesn’t have to be a long poem, or even a full poem – just having a visual poetry example around the house will inspire you and your children to enjoy poetry more often.
Keep a Poem in your Pocket! – National Poem in your Pocket Day is April 26, and it’s a fun way to remind yourself to enjoy and celebrate poetry, as well as share your favorite poem with others. It’s simple, just keep a copy of any poem in your pocket all day – take it out and read it or share it with people throughout the day! Spread the poetry love!
Attend a Poetry Reading – I remember attending a local poetry reading at the Hillstead Museum Sunken Gardens – lying on the lawn, watching the sun set and listening to local authors read their poetry was so relaxing! Libraries often have events like this too (for adults and kids!). Or create your own neighborhood or school group event!
Record a poem – Either read a selection of poetry yourself to record, or have your children read/record a sampling of poetry. Burn it to a CD and you can listen to your own voices reciting poetry in the car or around the house! We love listening to Andrew Pudewa’s Poetry Memorization CDs, which has a fine selection of fun and serious poetry.
Read-Aloud – Pick a specific time of day or task during which you will read-aloud poetry to your children. Perhaps they can do a small task like folding towels, or coloring while you read poetry. Sometimes children need gentle exposure to poetry – they might not SIT through a poem like they would through a story, so try to work it into the background!
Pick a Theme – find poetry books on a topic your children already enjoy reading about – if they love dogs, read poems about dogs! (My favorite is (affiliate link) Sharon Creech’s Love That Dog verse novel!). Or if you’re taking a trip, find poetry relating to your vacation – since we love to camp, I love reading Kristen O’Connell George’s (affiliate link) Toasting Marshmallows to my son.
There are many ways we can share poetry with our children. We started reading rhymes and poems to our children when they were babies. If we wait until kids get to the upper elementary or middle school and “force” the study of poetry on them, because “that’s what’s in the curriculum,” poetry will seem arbitrary. Instead, weave poetry into the fabric of daily life in small ways, and enjoying poetry will come naturally.
How would you include poetry in your daily life? Will you participate in Poem in your Pocket Day?