Poetry is beautiful, captivating and (for a lot of us) a little intimidating, right? Our goal with this episode is to show you how simple and delightful sharing poetry with your kids can be.

My guest today says we can’t force poetry, but we can share it naturally… and that just might be the key to helping our kids develop a lifelong love.

If you want to help your kids fall in love with beautiful language, there’s no better (or simpler) way to start than with a poem.

Don’t miss our booklist of favorite poetry to read aloud—it’s a good one! Scroll down to see the clickable list’s book covers, or pop your email in below to get the printable version.

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In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • why and how to incorporate poetry into your routine
  • what to do if you feel intimidated
  • how to develop a true affection for poetry (it’s more fun than you think!)

Listener Guide

Use the time stamps below to skip to any part of the podcast:

1:34Question: What do you do if your kids skim books?
3:27Read aloud … together
6:00Step down the reading level
7:53Meet Sally Thomas
8:34Why poetry?
11:10The habit of attention
14:21How and when to begin poetry
17:14‘Poetry as Enchantment’
19:18Weaving in poetry
23:15Enjoying poems yourself
25:26Copywork and memorization
29:43Favorite resources
31:07Let the kids speak

Links from this episode:

Quotes to remember:

“We really hamstring ourselves when we think poetry’s got to be serious, exalted, or that we’ve got to ‘teach’ it.” – Sally Thomas

“Memorized poems are a tiny bit of beauty tucked into your pocket. Your kids can pull it out anytime and look at it.”  – Sarah Mackenzie

“A lot of people are afraid to trust the surface of the poem, because they’ve been taught that it’s just a mask for something else—that you haven’t really ‘understood’ the poem until you’ve taken the mask off. But it’s not like you’ve missed the point. If you just read the surface, you’ve still gotten it.” – Sally Thomas

Books from this episode:

Mentioned in Episode 140
I’m Just No Good at Rhyming: And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups
Marguerite, Go Wash Your Feet
The Rattle Bag

Recommended Poetry Anthologies:

Poetry Anthologies
Favorite Poems Old and New: Selected For Boys and Girls
The Golden Books Family Treasury of Poetry
A Child’s Book of Poems
The Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children’s Poems
Winter Poems
National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry: 200 Poems with Photographs That Squeak, Soar, and Roar!
The Random House Book of Poetry for Children

Recommended Poetry Collections by a Single Author:

Poetry Collections by a Single Author
Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasons
Echo Echo: Reverso Poems About Greek Myths
A Child’s Garden of Verses
Sing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year
Flower, moon, snow: A book of haiku
Be Glad Your Nose Is on Your Face: And Other Poems: Some of the Best of Jack Prelutsky
When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons
A Full Moon Is Rising
Where the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and Drawings
A Light in the Attic Special Edition with 12 Extra Poems
Falling Up
Every Thing On It
Little Poems for Tiny Ears
One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance
Snowman – Cold = Puddle: Spring Equations
Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold (Junior Library Guild Selection)
Once Around the Sun
Poetry for Young People: Robert Louis Stevenson
Poetry for Young People: Emily Dickinson
Poetry for Young People: Robert Frost
Poetry for Young People: Walt Whitman
Poetry for Young People: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Poetry for Young People: Carl Sandburg
Poetry for Young People: Edward Lear

Recommended Picture Books of a Single Poem:

Picture Books of a Single Poem
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Before Morning
My People (Coretta Scott King Award – Illustrator Winner Title(s))
The Negro Speaks of Rivers
Sing a Season Song
That Is My Dream!: A picture book of Langston Hughes’s “Dream Variation”
When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer (Golden Kite Honors)
Casey At the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888 (Caldecott Honor Book)
I Carry Your Heart with Me
The Owl and the Pussycat

Recommended Picture Book Biographies about Poets:

Picture Book Biographies: Poets
Papa Is a Poet: A Story About Robert Frost
Phillis’s Big Test
Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People
Enormous Smallness: A Story of E. E. Cummings
16 Words: William Carlos Williams and “The Red Wheelbarrow”

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