A couple of folk have said to me that they never do the poetry set for school, their kids just don’t get it. And I must say the way we did it as school was pretty tragic: Once a week the teacher put a poem on the board and after reading it through in silence a couple of times we were supposed to have it memorized… wahaaaa – of course the kid I sat beside me always had it down pat and I could never even get the first line. Needless to say, we do poetry a little differently around here, at home.
We have the stack of poetry books we are using for school very close to our meal table and then at breakfast or lunch we read through the poems of the week for one of the grades we are doing. This leads to endless, endless ideas straight after the meal. A poem gets acted out or a picture gets drawn or painted. I often let them use watercolors to paint their favorite poem of the week and they love that. Or they try their hand at writing poems with the same style themselves. Some of them are brilliant, some are less so! The point is they are not just reading poetry they are doing poetry and enjoying it!
Se7en Favorites: Everybody has a favorite!
- Hood #1: Casey at the Bat. by Ernest Lawrence Thayer
- Hood #2: MacCavity the Mystery Cat. by T.S. Eliot
- Hood #3: The Land of Counterpane. by Robert Louis Stevenson.
- Hood #4: TommyCats by Mary Ann Hoberman.
- Hood #5: Any Thing by Eric Carle.
- Hood #6: Cats Sleep Anywhere. by Eleanor Farjeon
- Hood #7: Anything by Julia Donaldson.
Se7en Poems to Learn Out-loud:
There are some poems that cry out to be learnt by heart. Narrative poems that tell a story are best for those nights when you are just too tired to read a book, or when you are waiting in a queue with no distracting resources. The you have the mad mothering power to tell a story off the top of your head. Here are se7en poems that every mother should know (!!! really you should). Because I know them or bits of them my kids have learnt them: repetition is the key to success here! Also these poems don’t have to be long to impress short people something quick and easy does the trick just as well.
- The House That Jack Built by Mother Goose.
- Jabberwocky by Lewis Caroll.
- The Swing by Robert Louis Stevenson.
- The Owl and the Pussy Cat and while you are at it The Jumblies. by Edward Lear.
- The Fog by Carl Sandburg.
- The Purple Cow by Gelett Burgess.
- The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore.
Se7en Classic Poems:
These poems certainly make up a cultural literacy. If you read these often enough you will learn them out-loud or at least recognize them when you come across them. I think it is the wonderful rhythm of these poems that makes them stick in your memory – nothing else would work for me:
- If by Rudyard Kipling.
- The Tyger by William Blake.
- Paul Revere’s Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- The Highway Man by Alfred Noyes.
- The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
- Kubla Kahn by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
- Double Double, Toil and Trouble, from Macbeth by William Shakespeare. My kids love this one – gruesome as it is!!!
Se7en Brilliant Poetry Books for Kids:
There are lots of poetry books that are totally brilliant and we read a lot of them just for fun. Have a look in the poetry section of your library you will be surprised at how many great poetry books there are for kids.
- This is our current favorite – I love that it comes with a CD and the poems can be played out-loud. It is so much easier to learn and store it in your brain, so to speak, if you have heard it well-read a couple of times:
- And who wouldn’t like Poetry Anthologies, these are our best:
- And Poetry Collections by favorite authors:
- Stories written the entire length in a poetry format – not just picture books, but epic tales like this one: It is the story of a dinosaur that is sent as a gift from the Amazon Jungle to a little English village and the trials of this adventure. Good fun, very funny and very clever!
- The last book is a Gooney Bird Greene by Louis Lowry. Gooney Bird Greene books are fabulous all about getting kids to write. This one is her poetry adventure and each chapter has a new poetry technique to learn: haiku’s, couplet’s and so on. Woven through the poetry, so that the “work of poetry” appears almost invisible, is the story of Gooney who is a totally mad kid in a class full of eccentrics with a wonderful teacher that we all wished we had had!
Se7en Great Links to Poetry Writing Inspiration Websites for Kids:
It is not enough to just read poetry it is actually fun to write it! Not being a great poet myself I search for ideas around the web: Here are some websites that provide lots and lots of poetry activities to do with kids – great resources. Some are just simple ideas to get them going with ideas and others require a bit more effort on everyone’s part. Here we go, these are the links go and explore:
- Celebrate Poetry – All Year Long.
- Poetry Activities from around the web – from Proteacher.
- Poetry Teacher has loads of brilliant poetry ideas, this is a list of things to do with kids to make poetry fun.
- Ideas to get kids writing poems.
- Charlotte Mason on Poetry by Karen Andreola
- Poetry Starters by Joyce Sidman.
- A couple more poetry starters by Kathi Applet.
I popped this post onto the Works For Me Wednesday Site – go and have a look there for all sorts of tips on absolutely anything.