Hot Topics     Home and Family     Family Fun    

Family Read-alouds: Fun with Poetry



4 reasons why reading poetry is great for kids

4 reasons why reading poetry is great for kids


While your family is working and learning from home, why not make your read-aloud times really special? Maybe you’re reading a classic chapter book as a family, or a biography or nature books that open the door to environmental learning. Whatever you’re reading, don’t forget to include some rhymes and poems.

A few decades ago, children consistently knew classic folk and fairy tales, nursery rhymes and various poems when they entered school. Today that isn’t true. For a variety of reasons kids have become more focused on popular contemporary songs and stories rather than classic literature. They know all about Frozen or Lion King, but they aren’t familiar with The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe.

READ MORE: Encourage early literacy, confidence and self-expression

But there are good reasons to make some time for poetry, both classic and contemporary. Here are some of them:

1. Poetry can boost social/emotional growth

  • Poetry is full of expression and emotion. It can help a child learn how others think and feel.
  • Reciting poems can build community. It’s a bit like singing a song together, with all the rhythms and rhyming words.
  • Enjoyment of poetry can build emotional resilience. Children can say, “I feel that way, too,” or, “Now I understand why my friend was afraid.”
2. Response to poetry has a physical component.

  • Poetry is the most kinesthetic of all literature. It is filled with rhythms and musical beats. It invites a physical response.
  • Reciting poems gives a child’s mouth, tongue and breathing a good workout. It builds fluency and expressive skills.
  • Poetry is filled with patterns and sequences; it has a musical quality that creates interaction.

3. Poetry can support and improve cognitive learning skills

  • Poetry builds and extends vocabulary. It places new words in a quick context supporting access to meaning.
  • Poems build phonemic awareness such as pitch, voice inflection, and variations in volume
  • Poetry invites creativity and self-expression. Children learn that reading is not just a list of rules to follow, but a world of meaning.
  • Poetry can improve both reading and writing skills as children gain a deeper love of language.
  • Poems can aid in memorization skills. The structure of poems makes them easier to remember than longer passages.

From the cradle on, children love poetry. Look for anthologies of children’s poetry to get an overview of poets or search for your favorite children’s authors as many of them have written verse as well as stories. Read the poems to your children, but don’t forget to have them memorize some of them for the valuable skills gained and the sheer fun of it. Here are some children’s poetry favorites:

The Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children’s Poems, edited by Donald Hall

Eric Carle’s Animals, Animals

A Treasury of Poetry for Young People, over 150 poems by six American Poets

Favorite Poems Old and New, over 700 poems edited by Ellen Ferris

Read Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young by Jack Prelutsky

The Original Mother Goose by Blanch Fisher Wright

Richard Scarry’s Best Mother Goose Ever

Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne



Other articles by HVP News Reporters


  • What to know about the future of cancer treatment

    New research is showing some promise

    For many patients, initial cancer treatments are not enough, and residual cancer cells that survive these treatments can cause relapse. But new research is seeking to harness the immune system to target residual disease, thereby helping patients avoid relapses and live longer. read more »
  • Add Mediterranean flair to your dinner table

    Explore other cultures and cuisines by experimenting in the kitchen

    During the past year, many people have missed the opportunity to travel and experience the sights, sounds and tastes of the world, but it’s easy to explore other cultures and cuisines by experimenting in the kitchen. read more »
  • 3 tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle for your dogs

    Pet parents want the best for their dogs and will go to great lengths to keep their furry friends healthy. read more »
  • What your feet can tell you about your health

    Understanding peripheral artery disease

    If you are living with pain and discomfort in your feet, legs, thighs or butt, it may be a sign of a serious health problem. Many adults in the United States are suffering and may be at risk of amputations of their toes, feet or legs as a result of an undetected disease known as peripheral artery disease (PAD). read more »
  • Pandemic make you more concerned about finances?

    You’re not alone

    The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted nearly every aspect of people’s lives and, as it turns out, it also impacted their feelings about financial security and life insurance. In a national survey commissioned by Erie Insurance: read more »
  • 3 tips for selecting the perfect home

    Ideas to keep in mind while you search

    For those beginning the process of home buying, there are many factors to consider. Keep these ideas in mind as you conduct your search – whether it’s online or at a series of open houses. read more »
  • Don’t let your child be a financial failure in 2023

    Nine signs your child needs to work on their money skills

    If you haven’t heard the famous stand-up comedy routine of Jeff Foxworthy, I would suggest taking a few minutes to pull some one-liners up on the Internet before reading the rest of this piece. Foxworthy has worked extremely hard over the years building a successful career by making jokes about real-life situations, as well as a particular class of people who might be “Rednecks”. read more »
  • DEC Spring Tree Seedling Sale 2023

    Check out free program available for youth groups

    Youth organizations, schools, and homeschool groups: Apply now for a package of free seedlings through the 2023 School Seeding Program. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until the program closes on March 31 or seedling stock runs out, whichever comes first. read more »
  • Prioritize heart health with a balanced eating plan

    Try these recipes from the DASH diet

    No matter your motivations, it’s never too late or too early to start focusing on your heart health, and taking steps now can make a big difference. Small changes, like following a healthier eating plan, can help you start down a path toward improved heart health. read more »
  • A mission for nutrition

    Accomplish health goals with better-for-you family meals

    Setting out on a mission to eat healthier starts with creating goals and working to achieve them with those you love. To help make nutritious eating more manageable, call together your family and work with one another to create a menu everyone can enjoy while staying on track. read more »