February 26, 2015

Poetry for Children

Welcome to the last month in our 2014-2015 themes for Poppins Book Nook! We've had a great year with wonderful topics to explore. February is the last month in our cycle and this month we are exploring poetry. For many children, poetry can be dreaded. Some adults hate it too. In our family, we love it. We've been reading poetry to the boys from the time they were born and they both were eager to enjoy the poetry unit we did.
Poetry for Children: A Collection of Books and Activities

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I love poetry...well, let me rephrase that. I love poetry that rhymes. I have this thing about rhyme and rhythm when it comes to poetry. If it doesn't flow happily off my tongue, it's really not going to be very high on my list. I remember in college, that one of my English professors always gave me a hard time about the fact that I wasn't a fan of abstract poetry--in jest of course. But it's true. If I'm going to read it out loud, I want it to flow easily and I just have way more fun with rhyme and rhythm.

I didn't want to influence the boys by my opinions, so I made sure that I would read all different sorts of poems to them. I went to the library and checked out some older but fabulous poetry books as well as a brand new Dr. Seuss--a family favorite...and pulled a few off our own bookshelves.

The Classics

I think it's important to introduce your children to classic poetry by the great poets. I grew up with my mom reading classic famous poets to me, so I have a great love for them. I rediscovered the classic poets when I got into high school and then throughout college continued to seek them out. Here are some of the books that I found with great collections of the classic poets--with poems that are great for children.

by Robert Louis Stevenson
Illustrated by Susan Bonners

This is a harder edition to find, but this is the poetry I grew up with. I was gifted this book on my 2nd birthday and it was much loved and much read, as you can see from it's very worn out spine.

I memorized the illustrations because they were beautiful and they made me love the poetry even more. I love reading my book to my boys because they find great joy in the rhythm of the words and the illustrations that go with them. If you ever see a copy of this book at a thrift store, snag it. It is beautiful and well worth the money to add it to your bookshelf. Like me, my boys pore over the illustrations.

Aren't the illustrations lovely??
Robert Louis Stevenson is one of my favorite authors...perhaps because I have heard his words so many times by my mom when I was child. Know who one of my other favorite poets is? Robert Frost. Know who one of my mom's favorite poets is? Robert Frost. Coincidence?? LOL!

by Robert Frost
Illustrated by Susan Jeffers

Robert Frost is another favorite poet. I love that so many of his poems revolve around nature and every day things. I really like this book because the illustrations really capture the beauty of the poem. This book is also part of the FIAR program, which means there is a lot of information using this book as a unit. I have linked one of the units up below.

We have enjoyed reading this book in the middle of all the snow we've been experiencing. I was very happy to add it to our bookshelf last year so we could pull it out whenever we wanted to!

By William J. Bennett

This book contains a lot of excellent things, including poetry by a host of authors, including a lot of popular "anonymous" works. I like that the poems are all related to a character trait (good or bad) and are pretty easy to remember. This is another book that I have had since I was a girl and it came with me when I got married for my own children.

This book has so much great stuff in it--beyond the poetry--that I think it's a great one to have on any family's bookshelf! I pull it out a LOT during homeschooling.

Compiled by May Hill Arbuthnot
Illustrated by Arthur Paul

I discovered this book at the library because I was looking for specific poems at the time. As I started flipping through the book I realized that it was EXCELLENT and brimming with some of the of the great poets as well as many of the lesser known.

The introduction is full of great information on how to use the poetry for children or to verse choirs. I must say that I enjoy this book as very little of it is abstract poetry. LOL. I wish I could find this book elsewhere, but right now I'm just thankful that my library has it and that I can borrow it for as long as I want! LOL! I fount the font and layout to be very easy for my son to read.
I love this easy to read font!

Compiled by Edward Blishen
Illustrated by Brian Wildsmith

This is one of the books highly recommended for anyone desiring quality poetry for their children. I have seen it mentioned in many literature groups, so I was glad to find that our library had a copy of it. It had quite a few poems that none of the books I've mentioned thus far have had, making it a great addition to our reading for this month. I also love the fun and whimsical illustrations scattered throughout the book.

Contemporary Poetry

While classic poetry should be taught and explored, it is only fair to give equal share of time to some of the great contemporary poets who have brought such joy to our lives. Hands down, my two favorite contemporary poets are Shel Silverstein and Dr Seuss. These men are GENIUS when it comes to making word pictures and tongue twisters. I have always believed that the greatest test of phonics comprehension is to give your child a book of Dr Seuss. If they can successfully work their way through the made-up words, then they have phonics down!

I like to draw on these two poets whenever my boys start thinking that poetry is "boring." You can't help but smile or grimmace when you read Shel Silverstein and his illustrations are awesome. His books are ideal for the middle school age.

by Shel Silverstein

I think every kid needs to read this book. This is the best book to start with in "meeting" Shel Silverstein. I first read this book back in...I think it was around 6th grade. He was "new" and boy did we love him! We would read his books to each other at lunch and my how we giggled or yelled "ew!"

His illustrations were equally as captivating and really set off his poetry. Even the reluctant readers enjoyed diving into these books. I am getting ready to start sharing them with my boys as my oldest is definitely at the right age to appreciate the humor.

I am going to also share a carousel widget of some of my favorite books by Shel Silverstein if you want to investigate his books further!

by Dr. Seuss

We were tickled to find this newly published book of Dr. Seuss stories at the library the last time we visited. This is another story about the friendly little elephant Horton and also contains three other "lost" stories. Every story as usual is a poem and is a great chance to really give your children a love of rhyme and rhythm because these books are best read out loud.

I have found that these books resonate with the early elementary age and they are a big part of our schooling. My oldest loves to read them now that he can work his way through all the words on his own. These are some of the rare books that my husband will happily read aloud to the boys in the evening. He has very fond memories of his own mom reading them aloud to him.

Here is a collection of other Dr. Seuss books that are our family favorites:

So what did we do this month?

It worked out that our literature theme during the month was poetry. We are working through the Lightning Lit Grade 3 curriculum as a Beta tester and this was the first of two poetry units we will be completing. I really enjoyed the way this unit had us reading the same poems each day, but had us analyze them for different things with each day's work. We read poetry by Sullivan, Rossetti, Yolen, Frost, Morley, Fleming and Stevenson.

We were given a series of comprehension questions to go over after our reading of the poems.
The comprehension questions began geared towards more obvious things like asking if the reader knew what certain poems words meant. What a line might translate to, asking what season the poem takes place. As each day progressed, they became a bit more complicated and guided Little Britches to look deeper. He was able to do this by completing his worksheets each day. On the worksheets we began by reviewing vocabulary like stanza, couplet, imagery, rhyme, line and repetition. As the days progressed, each lesson helped him learn how to analyze the poems deeper.

Two additional activities which we enjoyed--we had to pick one our poems for the week to memorize and one to rewrite into prose. Little Britches quickly fell in love with "Dust of Snow" by Robert Frost and had it memorized in 2 days. He also really liked Christina Rosseti's "Who Has Seen the Wind?", so he picked that one for his rewrite. Once he got in the swing of it, he did well. And it helped him to think more carefully about what all his other poems were saying too. His favorite poets were Robert Louis Stevenson, Robert Frost and Christina Rosseti. I applaud his choice...they are some of my favorites too.

We've read a lot of poetry, and I try to read poets of every style (yes, even the dreaded abstract) so that he can get a feel for what is out here. It is funny that after our week of poetry, he told me "You know those poems that don't rhyme? I don't like them. They don't make sense. I don't think they are even poetry. They HAVE to rhyme."--thank you, my son. THANK you. Bwahahahahahah. I promise, I never told him my preferences at all prior to this. I just find it funny that he too is drawn to the concrete poetry.

In closing, I want to share a few places where you can snag some poetry related printables, lapbooks or unit studies. They are very helpful and make poetry an adventure.

Kid’s Poetry Bundle Giveaway!
Every month the Poppins Book Nook group will be offering readers a chance to win a brand new storybook or product that ties in with our theme for the month.

This month one lucky entrant will win the Kid’s Poetry Bundle. The winner will enjoy two books full of poetry for children. The two books that they will win is the Bill Martin Jr Big Book of Poetry and Poetry Speaks to Children These two magical books will help your children learn about and have fun with poetry.

Entrants must be 18 years or older and reside in a country that receives U.S. Postal mail. This giveaway is brought to you by the company Enchanted Homeschooling Mom who is owner and founder of the Poppins Book Nook.

By entering this giveaway you are also acknowledging that you have read and agree to all of the Rafflecopter terms & conditions as well as Enchanted Homeschooling Mom's disclosures found here {http://enchantedhomeschoolingmom.org/disclosures/}. Just enter the Rafflecopter below to win:

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Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God's Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual Mayhem~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ Kathy's Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ My Bright Firefly ~A Mommy's Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~ Ever After in the Woods ~Golden Grasses ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Raventhreads ~ Tots and Me ~ As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~Where Imagination Grows ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A Peace of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am  ~ Simple Living Mama

Do you have posts relating to poetry to share? Feel free to link up so that we can visit!

I hope that you will introduce your children to poetry. Regardless of their age and gender, there is sure to be something for them to love. Don't be afraid of the classics--share your own favorites with your children! And maybe try a few of the ones that I've shared as something new!

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