Poetry to Children
of poetry are not born, but made through patient and careful
(2005, p. 188)
Children's Poetry Preferences
Part B. Strategies of
Teaching Poetry to Children
Part A. Children's
According to Fisher &
Natarella's (1982) and Terry's (1974) studies on children's
poetry preferences, they found that
narrative poems over lyric poems.
the favored poetic form; free verse and haiku were not well
poems that had pronounced sound patterns of all kinds, but
especially enjoyed poems that rhymed.
poems with regular, distinctive rhythm.
humorous poems, poems about animals, and poems
about enjoyable familiar experiences.
(cited in Lynch-Brown, C. & Tomlinson, C. 2005.
Essentials of Children’s Literature, 5th edition, p. 49)
Such studies, however, can
be dangerous if we rely on them entirely to determine what
poetry we will share with children. We should try to broaden
children's experience by providing them with a wide variety
of poetry, but these findings can be used as a good starting
point to select poems for children who have little
experience with poetry.
Part B. Strategies of Teaching Poetry to
Aloud to Children
Poetry should be
introduced first and frequently to children in an oral
form. Most poetry is best read aloud. Moreover,
children's oral language is the basis for their later
acquisition of literacy.
Teachers need to
practice reading the poems ahead of time and frequently.
Keep in mind that poetry should be read for its meaning
and enunciated words clearly. Pay attention to the
poet's punctuation and slow down your normal reading pace to
give full value to each sound.
Some poems need to be
performed and dramatized. Using your voice to
make special effects, such as variations of volume, pitch,
and speech rate, and even a dramatic pause.
with one to three poems at a time are best. Too many poems
in one sitting may overwhelm students or make the reading
After reading the
poem, be sure to announce the name of the poet so
that children discover the writers they especially enjoy.
Some poems warrant
discussion. Children can take the opportunity to tell
how the poem made them feel or what it make them think
Choral poetry consists
of interpreting and saying a poem together as a group
activity. Children enjoy this way of experiencing poetry
because they have a participatory role in the
narrative poems are good first choices.
Options for reading a
poem chorally include unison, two- or three-part, solo
voices, cumulative buildup, and simultaneous voices.
Poetry selected and
arranged for dramatic choral readings on a particular theme
infuses an interesting variation into choral poetry.
gestures, body movements, and finger plays can produce more
interesting and enjoyable presentation.
Learning to Write
Children need to be
very familiar with poetry of many kinds before they should
be expected to compose poems.
Teachers often start
the writing of poetry as a collaborative effort. The
class brainstorms for ideas and then composes the poem in
groups or pairs.
follows no absolute rules; perfection of form should not
be a goal. They should be reminded that poetry is a
form of communication and that they should think of an
idea, feeling, or event to write about in their poems.
Teachers can encourage
children to compile personal and class anthologies of
their own poems or their favorite poems.
Teachers can encourage
children to model the works of professional poets by
attempting imitation of a whole poem or of specific
Teachers can read
aloud many poems of one poetic form, and then analyze the
form to reveal the characteristics of its structure. See
some poetry writing websites for children:
Poetry writing with poets from
Fern's Poetry Club from PBS Kids
Poetry writing from CanTeach.ca.com
How to write poems from Poetry Zone