I know that not everyone loves poetry the way I do. I totally understood why my college students weren’t as excited about our poetry unit in Creative Writing as I was. But that’s never stopped me from loving the challenge of introducing poetry to a skeptic and surprising them with the reality that they could love it, too. Now as a homeschool mom, I still love that challenge. I love introducing a love for poetry to my kids. And often, that love surprises them.
Especially if you have active learners, introducing a love for poetry can be tough. But here are a few ideas to give you a head-start in the right direction.
Introducing a love for poetry
Choose the best books.
I love Shel Silverstein’s books of poetry, especially for boys. If anyone can pull off a surprise love for poetry, Shel Silverstein can. My kids have literally laughed out loud through his books. Falling Up is such a favorite at our house that we now own it (because someone left the library book outside overnight and it got a little too damp to return).
But a new favorite of mine is the book Guyku, haiku for boys (or any kid who loves to play outdoors). Even my daughter with dyslexia couldn’t help but pick this one up.
Haiku is probably one of my favorite poetry forms, and these authors do a fantastic job writing kid-friendly haiku. Their website also includes some great teaching resources and free printables.
Create a memorable moment.
- Have a picnic, lay out on a blanket, hunt for cloud shapes, and read a couple of fun poems. (Just a couple, don’t over do it.)
- Use poetry to introduce something fun you are about to do. Read a poem about the beach and let them guess where you are going. Read haiku about nature and then go on a nature walk to find ideas for your own poem.
- Have a poetry scavenger hunt and have them find poems about particular topics you’ve listed. (Choose a fun book and quirky topics.)
Whatever you do, let the poetry be a part of an already fun experience. The positive vibes from the event will spill over into the poetry part of that memory. Your goal is to have a fun, positive memory associated with poetry, rather than the memory of sitting at a desk discussing rhyming patterns.
Provide a fun snack.
Adding food never hurts, especially if you’ve got boys. Food is definitely part of that positive association. I can pull off just about anything with my kids if there is food involved. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Have one particular treat that only comes out during poetry time. Or surprise them with a favorite treat, and a new favorite poem.
I’ve read a lot of the blogs that do the “poetry teas” as a way of introducing a love for poetry to children. It’s a great idea, and when my kids were little, I could get by with that. But my soon-to-be sixth grade son is not keen on “tea parties.” These ideas still work for him, though. And with the right book, I can still surprise him with a love for poetry he didn’t know he had.