April is National Poetry Month, so we’re talking poetry all month long. Reading poetry can help overall reading and literacy skills, which is exactly why your kids should read poetry. Learn more about Poetry books for kids.
When you think of poetry, what comes to mind? Do you think of Shakespeare? Of high school English classes where you’d discuss abstract meaning and themes and rhyme patterns? Do you think of highbrow literature that’s difficult to understand? But what about poems that make you laugh? Or poems that helped you learn how to read?
In this blog, we’ll discuss why your kids should read poetry: what the benefits are, what it can teach them about reading, and what it can teach them about life. We’ll also recommend some excellent poetry books for kids, if you don’t know where to start.
The Benefits of Reading Poetry
Let’s start with the most obvious benefit for why your kids should read poetry: it gets them reading. The more your child reads, the easier it will be for them, and the more confident they’ll get. If you cultivate active, thoughtful, and regular reading habits when your children are young, the more likely they’ll be to continue that practice throughout their life. These habits will improve their performance in school and their overall livelihood.
Poetry is meant to be enjoyed, so a huge benefit is the pleasure derived from reading it. Poems can make us laugh. They can make us cry. They can make us joyful. Nervous. Afraid. Excited. When your child reads poetry, they can experience feelings, both familiar and unfamiliar. Poetry books for kids can be both silly and serious. They will make your child laugh but will also teach important life lessons and character traits.
Poetry can boost creativity, too. Ask any writer why they wanted to be a writer in the first place, and they’ll all likely tell you some version of the same thing: they read a lot as a child. It’s just common sense, really. Who is going to want to write: someone who enjoys reading or someone who despises it?
Why Kids Should Read Poetry: Reading Poetry to Learn
Reading poetry can also help your young children learn to read in the first place. Poetry helps with reading fluency. Reading fluency means that the new reader begins to recognize words and read them—you guessed it—fluently. They’ll no longer need to sound words out in order to read them, and their reading comprehension will improve as well.
Children learn by mimicking and repeating, so reading poetry together can improve their ability to do it on their own. You could practice what is called echo reading, in which you’ll read a stanza or two of a poem and then your child will read the same stanza or two back to you. Or you could practice by doing choral reading, in which you and your child read the same poem at the same time.
Most types of poems have some kind of repeated rhythm. This is why reading poetry books for kids out loud is beneficial for new readers. That rhythm and flow will instruct them on how to read fluently, with a steady rate and expression. Reading out loud is crucial for beginning learners so that they can hear what it sounds like and if they’re doing it correctly.
Getting Your Kids to Read Poetry
Reading poetry is a great idea, but how do you put it into action? How do you get your kids to want to read poetry? Obviously, you cannot force your child to like anything. They’re their own person, with their own unique interests. If you push something, like reading poetry, too hard, it may backfire and your child will want nothing to do with it.
No matter what they read, it’s important that your child reads. We suggest building an interest and love for reading in general rather than one specific genre or another. Whether your child loves the action of comic books, the intrigue of mystery novels, or the beauty and rhythm of poetry, if they’re reading, they’re succeeding.
Of course, making poetry easily available and accessible is a good step toward building an interest in it. Read poetry out loud before bedtime. Dedicate a poem for “Poem of the Week.” Make sure poetry books are a part of your home library, taking up visible space on the shelf. Purchase poetry books that are interesting to kids—books that will make them laugh, pique their curiosity, and wonder about the world.
Recommended Poetry Books for Kids
Getting kids to read is easy if you find something that they enjoy, understand, and can easily read. Give a kid a difficult book, and you’ll only frustrate them, leading to a dislike for reading as a whole. But if you give them something they enjoy and can read with relative ease, and you’ll create a reader for life.
Here are some popular poetry books for kids:
- Shel Silverstein—Falling Up; A Light in the Attic; Where the Sidewalk Ends, & more.
- Edgar Allan Poe—Poetry for Young People
- Roald Dahl—Revolting Rhymes
- Kristine O’Connell George—Swimming Upstream: Middle School Poems
- Kwame Alexander—The Crossover (a novel in verse)
- Jacqueline Woodson—Brown Girl Dreaming (a novel in verse)
DiggyPOD Proudly Prints Poetry Collections
If you’ve written a poetry collection that you want to self-publish, look no further! DiggyPOD prints beautiful poetry collections and chapbooks. We are the go-to resource for writers interested in self-publishing poetry. You never know–if your child enjoys reading poetry, they may enjoy writing it, too. What a special gift it’d be to self-publish their collection. And one day, they can give it to their own children.