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Be Sure to Include Poetry in a Well-Rounded Literacy Program!

I love poems! When I was in elementary school, I used to scour the library searching for poetry books to read. On the surface, I thought I was cheating the system - poems were shorter and organized in a way that I could better digest. Little did I know how beneficial reading poetry was to my overall growth in reading and reading comprehension.

Teaching Poetry Has Many Benefits

So many skills can be gained through reading poetry!

  • Repetition helps kids with reading decoding and learning phonics rules

  • Poems require higher-level thinking

  • Poetry encourages creative thinking

  • Poems expose kids to rich vocabulary

  • Poetry helps kids understand how to communicate creatively through writing

  • Poetry exposes kids to literary devices like rhyme, onomatopoeia, alliteration, and more

  • It helps build confidence in reluctant readers as they feel less overwhelmed by smaller chunks of text

Which Poems Are Best?

Which poems are best depends on your learner, your lesson goals, and you. There are countless poems available to choose from. Take time to read some poems together until you find a favorite poet or book of poetry. Some days a funny poem hits the spot. On other days a more serious selection may be in order. That’s the amazing thing about poetry - there are so many different flavors to choose from!

Trying to Decide Where to Start? Start With a Certain Poet

Taking the first step can be challenging - especially when you have no clue where to start! Some favorite children’s poets are:

  • Shel Silverstein - You can’t go wrong with his funny, witty poetry! His poems are short, easy to understand, and relatable. His book Where the Sidewalk Ends is a great place to start!

  • Dr. Seuss - Who doesn’t love a Dr. Seuss book! I love the early readers that are funny and simple to read. My favorite as a child was Fox in Socks.

  • Robert Louis Stevenson - His collection of children’s poems, A Child’s Garden of Verses, is a classic.

  • Roald Dahl - In his book, Revolting Rhymes, he creatively rewrote fairy tales in verse form. These are fun to read and compare to the original. Be prepared for surprises!

  • A.A Milne - Best known for Winnie the Pooh, he also wrote poems for kids. Some of the poems from his book, When We Were Young, have been compiled and abridged in this book appropriate for kids in early elementary school.

  • Mother Goose - Sure, we know these works as “nursery rhymes” but these are a type of poetry and younger kids love them! There are tons of different collections of Mother Goose rhymes. One of my favrites is Tomis dePaolas’ collection. ​​

Dig In!

Wherever you choose to start, be sure to take time to dig into the poems. Read, reread, and read them again. Analyze the literary devices used (I’ll talk about those in the next blog post!) and take ample time to talk about why the poet wrote what he wrote. Analyze the poem keeping in mind that different people may have different interpretations based on their background knowledge and life experiences.

American Poets

Our American Poets unit study is a great study to use to help your child learn how to dig through and analyze a poem. In this 10-day unit study, students learn about ten different American Poets. They will learn to take a systematic approach to studying poetry. This unit is appropriate for students K-8. You can click here to learn more about this unit or click the link below.

Blast off to Reading Poetry Dig

I love poetry so much that I was intentional about including it in our year-long literacy program for Kindergartners, Blast off to Reading! Your students will practice reading decoding, language arts skills, and more as they "dig" through each poem to find and practice:

  • Capital letters

  • Consonants

  • Counting

  • Ending punctuation

  • Following directions

  • Handwriting

  • Letter recognition

  • Lowercase letters

  • Nouns

  • Number writing

  • Reading

  • Rhyming words

  • Shapes

  • Small motor skills

  • Syllables

  • Verbs

  • Vowels

This poetry pack is included in our year-long curriculum or you can purchase it separately here. You can also click the link below to check it all out!

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