Poetry for Elementary Students

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Reading poetry at home, and with your children, promotes understanding and appreciation of this art. Most parents are great at reading with their children, but some of us need to work on expanding the genre’s from which we choose our books and stories. We love the “Poetry for Young People” series and highly recommend the books. As history teachers, we love to promote American poets who can also tell us a bit about the time period in which they lived. Some of our favorites include:

  • Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes, David Roessel, Arnold Rampersad, Benny Andrews
  • Poetry for Young People: Emily Dickenson, Francis Schoonmaker Bolin and Chi Chung
  • Poetry for Young People: Edgar Allen Poe, Brod Bagert and Carolyn Cobleigh
  • Poetry for Young People: Maya Angelou, Dr. Edwin Graves Wilson, Ph.D., Jerome Lagarrigue
  • Poetry for Young People: Robert Frost, Gary D. Schmidt and Henri Sorenson

After reading the books, try these activities at home:

  1. Write! Write your own poem in the style of the poet you just read.
  2. Poetry Terms. Talk about poetry terms such as rhyme, meter, imagery, metaphor, simile, symbol, rhythm, blank verse, and allusion. (Check out this website for definitions: http://quizlet.com/3018390/english-10-poetry-terms-flash-cards/)
  3. Poetry Reading. Have each member of the family select their favorite poem. Serve hot chocolate and cookies and take turns reading your poem out loud. Discuss meaning, form, and what makes the poem sing.
  4. Music. Look at your favorite musician or band and analyze the songs as poems. Discuss the different types of music popular today and compare the written songs to poems from the past.
  5. Memorize a Poem. Select a fun, beautiful, or funny poem as a family and try to memorize it. Practice every night after dinner.



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