Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Reading Poetry with Children

April is National Poetry month, and we are celebrating here at MCPL with events and contests. We have also chosen April to highlight our children's resources, from e-books to streaming movies to homework clubs. So, what better opportunity could we find to discuss children's poetry?

For the very young

Poetry is not just for older kids, it's for babies and toddlers too! Reading poetry and rhymes to your babies and toddlers is not only fun, it increases your child’s awareness of the sounds in words. This helps prepare your child to sound out words when they read. Did you know we have books with rhymes geared toward babies and toddlers? Try starting with the fun Welcome, Baby!:  Baby Rhymes for Baby Times to get you and your little ones started!

Poet A.A. Milne may be best-remembered for the stories of Christopher Robin, Pooh, and the rest of the residents of the Hundred Acre Wood. However, his children's poetry books, When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six, have memorable poems that even young children can learn and enjoy.

For the beginning reader

Looking for an enjoyable way to encourage your beginning reader and read together? Try one of the amusing books in the You Read to Me, I'll Read to You series. These short poems and rhymes are designed to be read aloud by two voices, both adult and child, with occasional parts to share. The color-coded type makes it easy to know who should be reading. It's a perfect transition book for kids moving to beginning readers. It's words will engage beginning readers while the illustrations give the books that entertaining picture book feel.

For children of all ages

The immortal words of Dr. Seuss are a suitable inspiration for children of all ages. From the simple rhymes of Fox in Socks and Green Eggs and Ham, to more complex social messages in books like The Lorax and Oh, the Places You'll Go, Dr. Suess offers poetry the whole family can enjoy. You can also find translations of some Dr. Suess titles, including Spanish and Chinese in our collection.

Shel Silverstein's books of poetry appeal to both the young and the young at heart with inventive rhymes and imaginative ideas and illustrations that capture the things that many wonder about but never dared to say aloud:
"Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?"
-"Whatif" from A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

Do you have other suggestions for good poetry books for children? Other ways for families to celebrate National Poetry Month? Let us know!

Thanks to blogger Tom Burns for this "Poetry Is Actually Kind of Cool" post, which helped inspire our list.

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