Did you know that April is National Poetry Month?
What does that even mean?
It means that this month is all about celebrating poetry!
You know what, my friends? Poetry is different today than it once was. No longer are poems relegated to the boring topics of flowers or romance. No way.
Now? Poems are about anything and everything.
They rhyme or they’re free verse.
And so to honor National Poetry Month, I thought I’d share a few of our favorite poetry books.
Here’s the skinny. . .
How to Make Poetry ROCK for Kids — (Start Now — It’s National Poetry Month!):
I’ve got five simple ways that you can really bring poetry home for your kids.
And not one of these ways is too crazy or complicated.
You can start as simply as bringing poetry books into the house if you don’t already have any!
Especially in April–National Poetry Month–libraries will have a ton of poetry books at the ready for you!
1. Choosing a poetry anthology and having kids take turn picking a poem to read. That’s the great thing with poetry–you don’t have to read from cover to cover!
2. Focusing on only one or two poems at a time. Read and re-read. Read in different voices, with emphasis on different words or phrases. Talk about how the meaning changes with each reading.
3. Listening to poems! Check out the Library of Congress’s HUGE database of poets reading their poems: Library of Congress poets reading poems.
4. Taking poems on the go! The Poetry Foundation has an APP you can download to take poems with you anywhere, any time: Poetry Foundation App.
5. Finding poems that kids will LOVE. Check out Kwame Alexander’s Crossover. It’s a novel written in poetic verse. Every kid I know who read this piece, about twin basketball stars who find out about life and love in one short season, could NOT put it down.
Find out more here: Kwame Alexander’s unofficial Crossover trailer ||
Actually, watch it here: PBS NewsHour interview with Kwame Alexander
Need a few poetry books that your kids will love?
Check these out. . .
- Poems for Small Friends, by Bobbi Katz and Gyo Fujikawa
- Pocket Poems, by Bobbi Katz
- Where the Sidewalk Ends or A Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstein
- African American Poetry: Poetry for Young People, edited by Arnold Rampersad and Marcellus Blount and illustrated by Karen Barbour
- What a Day It Was At School, by Jack Prelutsky
- Mary Had A Little Jam And Other Silly Rhymes, by Bruce Lansky
- Poems to Learn by Heart, by Caroline Kennedy and illustrated by Jon J Muth
Why does poetry even matter? Glad you asked.
You guys–poetry matters for so many reasons, but I get that you’re busy and you want this quick and straightforward.
Here are five reasons that poetry your kids NEED poetry. Ready?
- Poetry helps build early literacy skills. It really does! Rhyme, rhythm, and sound are emphasized in poems.
- Poetry–nursery rhymes and songs, especially–helps kids develop their memory and brainpower!
- Poetry encourages kids to play with language and words. When reading poetry, they hear how words can be moved and stretched to rhyme, and when they write poetry, they’re doing the same!
- Poetry helps emerging readers. Often, emerging readers are not as intimidated when reading poetry because many poems are short and sweet. The rhyme helps with figuring out words, as does the rhythm.
- Poetry, especially in songs and rap, is great for reluctant readers. When kids realize that songs and rap are forms of poetry, they’re often all of a sudden interested in reading!
Check out this video for more:
Cheers, and happy reading during this incredibly exciting journey!
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