Tips for Loving Poetry and Promoting Literacy

In last week’s
post, WHY POETRY? Building Literacy Skills with Poetry, I gave lots of reasons to read, recite, illustrate, and
love poetry. Today I have specific tips for promoting poetry at home and in the

Read Aloud

Read the
poem aloud (poems need this!) or encourage your child to read it – or take
turns (best!).


Group Reading

reads a poem together. This can be tricky and hilarious.

participant takes turns reading lines.


Poem of the Week or Day

Print out,
print by hand, or have a child print by hand (see Expressive Handwriting below)
a favorite poem.

Have copies
available for anyone to carry around.


Poetry Break

Have a big
sign that says “Poetry Break.” Hold it up during boring times and recite or
read a favorite and/or new poem. See The
Poetry Break
(below) for lots about this.


Poetry Night

At home or
at school, everyone steps up to the microphone (real or mock) and recites a
poem (having it memorized is strongly encouraged but not mandatory). Camp it
up! Be expressive! Consider costumes! Don’t forget the refreshments!


Waiting Times

One of the
beauties about poems is they are so portable and often designed for short snatches
of time. Read and share during short down times: standing in line, backseat car
riding, doctor appointments, between lessons at school…


Act It Out

Some poems
just want to be acted out, especially ones that have lots of movement and/or


Expressive Handwriting

Copy poems
in different colors, printing styles, and shapes, based on how the reader sees
and feels the poem. Compare interpretations.



Many poems
beg to be illustrated. Encourage your child to pick a poem to illustrate. A fun
group activity is to agree on a poem, read it aloud several times and then
everyone does his/her own illustration. Share. You may be surprised at the

Of course, writing poetry is a terrific way to get excited about poetry. That subject will have to be for another day!





What to Read When by Pam Allen

This is a
wonderful resource for books and ideas for how to use them for kids birth to ten.
There is a nice section of 50 emotional themes (adoption, bullying,
grandparents…) for helping find a book for your child’s situation.

How to Get Your Child
to Love Reading
by Esmé
Raji Codell

This is also
a wonderful resource for finding books to match kids’ interests and situations.

The Poetry Break: An
Annotated Anthology with Ideas for Introducing Children to Poetry
by Caroline Feller Bauer

This is a
terrific resource for ideas and poems!

20 Terrific Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month
from Minds in Bloom


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