Reading poetry with kids has become an easy, quick, and rewarding part of my daily routine. Let me tell you how!
Last year, I realized that while we may read a lot as a family, there was one huge gap in our library. Though I like poetry, I can't say I know a lot about it or read it very often. My kids know even less about poetry.
I took a Transcendentalist class in college and that was probably the first time I'd ever really l delved into poetry. I gained a great appreciation for T.S. Eliot, Emily Dickinson, and Walt Whitman. Since then I've read a lot of Mary Oliver . . . but that's mostly it.
If you'd asked my kids a year ago what they knew about poetry, they'd have recited a funny Shel Silverstein or Jack Prelutsky verse . . . but that's it.
I realized we were missing something. I know that reading poetry with kids is important. So, I did a little research and added A Poem for Every Night of the Year to our library. It's been a big hit.
We started incorporating a poem from this book into our bed time routine every night. It's been easy to maintain because it only takes a few minutes to read a poem. Now, almost a year later, everyone looks forward to our nightly poetry reading. Our bedtime routine wouldn't be the same without it.
A Poem for Every Night of the Year has really made our venture into the world of poetry so much easier. It's organized by date and the poems are normally relevant to the season or holidays that they fall near. I love that each poem has a brief intro providing context. Not only does this help the kids (and me) understand the poems better, but it also gives us more to talk about.
The poems and poets chosen for this book are also very diverse. After reading this book for a year, we've really covered a lot of poetry ground.
Today's poem is "Caged Bird" by Maya Angelou (appropriate this week after observing MLK day). Tomorrow's poem takes us back to the 19th century with a hopeful winter poem by Wordsworth.
Now, if you ask my kids about poetry they can say a lot more than that it's funny. They have favorite poems and favorite poets that they've identified with. They've experienced the emotions that poetry can inspire and evoke. They know that poems don't always rhyme. In short, they've gained a real appreciation for poetry. I have a year of reading this book to thank for that.
I highly recommend reading poetry with kids. It's easy to make it a part of your bedtime routine. It doesn't take much effort or even time commitment, but the benefits are rich. Reading poetry with kids is so rewarding.
Also, I just noticed that the editor of this book as a new version out. If reading with your kids at night isn't easy, try A Poem for Every Day of the Year. Maybe you can add it to your breakfast routine? But really, there aren't any rules. You can read either one of these books whenever it works best for you!
Have you tried reading poetry with kids? What have they enjoyed? I'd love more recommendations!