Poetry may be the food of love, but it’s not always a tempting snack to kids. Poetry is a beautiful and useful tool for teaching various parts of language, and some of the most beautiful, haunting, and enduring phrases of our time are found between sweet refrains and stunning stanzas. But with such a traditional history, incorporating poems into your homeschool can sometimes fall flat. Never fear! I’m rounding up some unique poetry resources that replace some of the flourishes with fun and promise to make poetry studies a favorite in your homeschool.
Fun Poetry Collections
One of the best ways to get your kiddos engaged in poetry is to start with fun poems. Silly, absurd, even a little immature! Once your kiddos see what language can do when describing an armpit, they’ll be hooked. For Laughing Out Loud, or anything written or edited by Jack Prelutsky, really, is a classic that covers tons of topics, full of silly rhymes to elicit laughs, just like The Armpit of Doom. While still quite humorous, I’m Just No Good at Rhyming adds another level of cleverness to the poems. For something different and engaging, Hip Hop Speaks to Children is an absolute gem that your family will enjoy over and over. When working mindfulness into your day, the works in Breathe and Be are a perfect and relaxing contribution. The NatGeo Book of Animal Poetry is a fantastic addition to a morning time basket or a gateway for younger kiddos to enjoy poetry with captivating photos!
Classic Poetry Collections
Don’t get me wrong, we love the silly stanzas and the giggles that erupt when we share ridiculous words together, but there’s something so idyllic about classic poetry. The Random House Book of Poetry for Children is the perfect first collection, positively filled with classics and beloved ballads. Poetry for Young People – Maya Angelou is an entry your kiddos will thank you for (and the whole Poetry For Young People series, at that). Sure, it’s got some silly standbys, but Shel Silverstein has to be considered a classic poet at this point, and Where the Sidewalk Ends is the best way to introduce his work to your kids. Emily Dickinson is another classic poet in her own right, and her collection in Hope is the Thing With Feathers is filled with gorgeous language sure to awaken those butterflies in your tummy that flutter when moved by beauty. An industry standard, A Child’s Garden of Verses is classic, beautiful, and everything you envision about introducing children to poetry. And while they may not be for everyone, The Complete Tales & Poems of Edgar Allen Poe are too iconic to leave out!
Novels in Verse
One of the most creative ways poetry has become more mainstream and exciting has been the introduction of spoken word performance and novels written in verse – literally book-length poems that tell stories with some incredible weaving of language. Emmy in the Key of Code and The Crossover manage to tell intriguing stories for tweens, drawing the reader so deeply into the story that kiddos often forget they’re reading poetry. Words With Wings and Love That Dog are two of the most popular novels in verse and are just so enjoyable to read. Rhyme Schemer is a powerful story that emphasizes the importance and beauty of language, and The People Shall Continue is a moving account of the strength of first nations people and their proud history.
Poetry really can be a blast. There are so many different and unique ways to enjoy and study it now that the subject doesn’t have to be retired to the vaults full of old-fashioned homeschool studies. Using humor, hip hop, moving stories, haunting tales, and the most incredible feats of language sculpture, poetry awakens something new within the reader and earns its place on the schedule. It may even stir something new within an unrealized poet.