how not to neglect poetry

But how does it all fit?

There are so many subjects to teach!

How can I not neglect poetry?

If you’ve followed along for the entire series of Sharing Poetry with Your Kids, you now have some ideas of how to teach poetry, but how does poetry fit into what you are already doing?

Overwhelmed?  Don’t be.

Adding poetry into your day doesn’t have to be poetry teatime or poetry baskets. You don’t even have to listen to Shakespeare if you don’t want to.  Writing poetry? Don’t sweat it.

Here are the four easiest ways to make sure your children hear poetry.  All you need is one good poetry anthology (see end of post for the ones we own and enjoy) and do one of the following things:

Read one poem every breakfast

or…

…. every lunch…

or

… every dinner…

or…

… every bedtime.

You gather around at those times anyway.  Make good use of the fact that they are sitting and not about to go anywhere.  Read the same poem every day for the week.  Have your children repeat it a couple of times with you each day.  At the end of the week, presto! Your children have memorized a poem.

After you read the poem, discuss it. We usually only do this the first day of a new poem.  It’s not hard: What did you like about the poem?  Did anything strike you funny, beautiful, strange, etc.? Were there parts you didn’t understand? What was the poem about? Did you hear words that rhyme? Or for older children, what was the rhyme scheme (pattern)?   Brush up on your figurative language (alliteration, assonance, consonance, similes, metaphors, onomatopoeia are good ones to start with) and after you teach what the terms mean, ask your children if they heard any throughout the poem.  Bear delights in telling me every time she hears alliteration, assonance, and simile, because it’s a treasure hunt.

Poetry Anthologies:

We own (I collected these in my teaching years):
The Random House Book of Poetry for Children – this one has nice illustrations and my favorite variety of poems.
A Child’s Anthology of Poetry – no illustrations and poems are longer (much, much longer)
Sing a song of popcorn: Every child’s book of poems – illustrated by Caldecott Medal artists and the variety of poems is nice (I would say this is my second favorite of the ones we own.)
A Child’s Garden of Verses – This one is illustrated by Tasha Tudor and Robert Louis Stevenson’s poems are all time favorites with Bear and J-jo.
Favorite Poems of Childhood  – no frills, no illustrations, INEXPENSIVE Dover edition that has all my favorites and is on the Sonlight reading list (or was at some point). If you need an anthology but don’t have lots of money to spend, this one has great ones for reading at meals.

On my wishlist for Bear’s birthday (I know she will get a kick out of the title)
Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages

I hope you enjoyed 5 days of Sharing Poetry with Your Kids!