Why do kids love poetry when they’re two, but by the time they are twelve they find it disgusting? Do you need help finding poetry kids will actually enjoy? Let’s find ways to make poetry something kids enjoy beyond the picture book years!
Why kids don’t enjoy poetry
First let’s examine root causes of why kids don’t like poetry, and then remove those! I think reasons kids begin to dislike poetry is a combination of:
- Adult / parent messages about a dislike for the genre – kids tend to like what their parents like (at least initially). Think of favorite sports teams, hobbies, etc.
- Adult / parent messages discussing how “hard” it is – well, now, that’s just discouraging from the get-go!
- Misconceptions that poetry is somehow “for girls” – Au contrare! In fact, most of my favorite poets are written by men! I suppose it was some drippy, sappy love poems that led to this HUGE misconception. But it’s time to set the record straight!
- Limited exposure to poetry – We have a tendency to prefer what is comfortable and familiar.
- Quantities of poor quality poetry – It’s true, there’s a lot of bad poetry mixed in with the good. Much like teaching eating habits – give kids the good stuff and they will learn to be discerning!
I believe if we share poetry with our children (boys especially) continually, long after the preschool years, then poetry would become a natural part of their reading in later years. A genre they’d come to accept as easily as comic books, magazines, and novels!
Most of all, let’s avoid passing on our own negative feelings about poetry. Just as I curb my “I hate math” feelings around my kids, I encourage parents to curb expressing their own negative experiences with poetry as well. And actually, now that I’ve been teaching math to my boys and gaining a better understanding of it – I find that I rather enjoy math! Goes to show, you can develop an enjoyment for something you previously disliked! I am sure you had an English teacher who beat you over the head with Rudyard Kipling’s “IF” but… there’s no reason our children have to have the same discouraging academic experiences we had!
Finding Poetry Kids Will Actually Enjoy
Have you checked out this list of my favorite poetry books for children? Do! These are the ones we have in our personal home library! Either check these out for your kids, or buy them for your permanent collection!
But how can you find poems your kids will actually enjoy? Here’s a few ways:
1. Read a lot of poetry to them. Something’s going to stick!
2. Find a favorite author of a non-poetry book who also writes poetry – Ralph Fletcher comes to mind. When kids are already connected to a favorite author, they may not mind reading a bit of their poetry, too!
3. Read verse novels. These are stories told in poetic form. Kids lose themselves in the story and forget they are reading a poem. But they’ll get the same benefits of poetry more or less!
4. Keep poetry in front of your kids in a variety of ways – like writing a short poem on a lunch note, or carrying a Poem in your Pocket for a day!
And, I’ve created a Pinterest board of Poetry Kids Will Actually Love to give you ideas for books to share with your children. I am sure your local librarian can help in this area as well!
Please enjoy this list, and follow the board to stay updated as I add more titles! Pin your favorites to your own Pinterest boards!