Poetry Doesn’t Have to Be Scary… And Here’s Why

Poetry doesn’t have to be scary, I promise.

When I was a little girl, I loved poetry. Somewhere along the path to adulthood, I became disconnected from it… and a little intimidated by it!

But now, as an unexpected homeschooler, I find myself appreciating poetry in a way I hadn’t before. Thanks to the Brave Writer curriculum we love, we make space for poetry every week!

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Poetry Doesn’t Have to Be Scary

Do you incorporate poetry into your homeschool routine, or do you steer clear of it because you find it intimidating? Today I’m sharing some of our favorite poetry books–several of which have accompanying CDs. I promise that they are anything but intimidating! All you need to do is to open a book or pop in a CD and let the magic unfold. The beauty is, you and your children can learn about poetry together.

The Benefits of Reading Poetry Aloud to Children

Reading aloud is arguably one of the best things you can do for your children’s future success, and you are making memories in the process! Why should you add poetry into your read-aloud routine? Poetry has so many benefits, including:

  • Poetry is one of the oldest art forms.
  • Reading poetry aloud is a fantastic way to teach children how to read aloud with emotion.
  • Poetry works those critical thinking skills, as one must analyze the words to find the message. It’s like cracking a code!
  • Poetry is a great way to boost vocabulary.
  • Reading poetry is an emotional experience. Poems are timeless, and they are able to leap across cultural barriers.
  • Poetry is a wonderful addition to your homeschool, as it can bridge the gap between history, art, music, and literature.

Tips for Reading Poetry Aloud to Kids

Just getting started? Here are some fun tips:

  • Brave Writer has taught me that children love poetry teatimes. Brew a pot of tea, dust off those teacups, and have a tea party!
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    Image source: Caitlin Fitzpatrick Curley
  • For added fun, ask your kids to dress up before joining you for tea.
  • If your kids seem distracted, give them a sketch pad and let them doodle while they listen. Sometimes those busy little fingers just need something to do!

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7 Non-Intimidating Poetry Books for Your Homeschool Bookshelf

A Child’s Introduction to Poetry: Listen While You Learn About the Magic Words That Have Moved Mountains, Won Battles, and Made Us Laugh and Cry (with audio CD) by Michael Driscoll

I love this particular book because it covers so many different topics in addition to the poems: genre, author biographies, and history. The read-alouds are engaging, with accompanying music to match each poem.

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

Silverstein’s books are a wonderful introduction to poetry for a young audience. Silverstein’s wacky and whimsical poems, alongside his sketches, inspire children to create and imagine. A Light in the Attic was one of my favorite books as a child and one of my favorite things to do is to read my old, worn copy with my own children.

Poetry Speaks to Children (with audio CD) by Elise Paschen

This is, hands-down, my favorite poetry book in our collection. I love it so much that I gave it out as a gift for every birthday party we were invited to for an entire year. And, do you know what? I’m still hearing positive feedback about it! With close to one hundred poems, Poetry Speaks to Children is sure to keep your family busy for a while. Approximately half of the poems in this collection can be found on the accompanying audio CD, and many are read aloud by the poets themselves. This is a wonderful introduction to poetry and would be excellent listening for either a long car ride or during your children’s quiet time.

Hip Hop Speaks to Children (with audio CD) by Nikki Giovanni

Hip Hop Speaks to Children helps children to realize that music is poetry. This book is an excellent way to teach children how to read aloud with emotion. Like Poetry Speaks to Children, it contains fantastic illustrations, poetry, and read-alouds. My children never cease to be mesmerized when this CD is playing, and I can sit back and smile because they are learning about music and poetry!

It’s Raining Pigs and Noodles by Jack Prelutsky

Like Silverstein, Prelutsky is a great way to introduce young children to poetry. Prelutsky teaches children that poetry is fun! Each time I read this book with my children, we end up belly-laughing. If your kids adore goofy poems and wordplay, they will love this book!

Read Aloud Poems for Young People by Glorya Hale

Read Aloud Poems for Young People is chock-full of well-known, classic poetry. I find that sometimes life gets so busy that making time for read-alouds can be challenging. Keep this book in your kitchen or on the bedside table. It will inspire you to read a few poems aloud over breakfast or just before bed. Your children will be learning some beloved classics during those few minutes!

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

Read these poems aloud to your children and you will be instantly connected with your five-year-old self. When I first started reading these books aloud to our children, I was amazed that I still had some of these poems memorized! I guarantee your children will remember reading Silverstein with you for decades to come!

And if you are looking for a fantastic poetry series, check this out…

This year in our homeschool, we will be incorporating the Poetry for Young People series. We started using these books at the very end of last year and my children loved them! The series makes it easy to study individual poets at a child’s level.

Now, it’s your turn. Tell me: Do you read poetry to your children? Share your favorite titles here!

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Cait is a school psychologist, mom to three amazing children, and an unexpected homeschooler. She loves nature, good books, board games, strong coffee, and dancing in her kitchen. You can read about all of these things and more at My Little Poppies. Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast. She is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool and her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, and Scary Mommy. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and G+.