February 19, 2018

Poetry to Read Aloud

Several years ago, I started a tradition of reading the same poem at breakfast every day for a week. I wanted an easy and painless way to expose my kids to more poetry and this seemed like a good way.

I had no idea at the time that this would grow to become the cornerstone of our morning time practice and an amazingly fruitful part of our everyday experience as a family.

Even though Charlotte Mason is speaking about visual beauty in this quote, it captures my feelings about the value of this kind of poetry study
––in fact, every child should leave school with at least a couple of hundred pictures by great masters hanging permanently in the halls of his imagination, to say nothing of great buildings, sculpture, beauty of form and colour in things he see. Perhaps we might secure at least a hundred lovely landscapes too,––sunsets, cloudscapes, starlight nights. At any rate he should go forth well furnished because imagination has the property of magical expansion, the more it holds the more it will hold. --A Philosophy of Education, 43
Especially because we read a poem together at least 6-7 times, the poems really become part of our imagination. Moreover, they become part of our collective family culture and we bring them up often when some experience, word, or idea calls them to mind.

 With so many beautiful or beautifully expressed ideas and words hanging in the halls of our imagination, we can't help but draw relationships among them and the new things that we discover together individually or as a family.

I, too, get to make these new connections. Whether it is knowing a little more fully what it must have been like for Columbus' crew heading out with the entire known world behind them or musing yet again on the endless changes of the seasons, any good poem contributes to my lifelong process of fitting my existence to existing things as described in Charlotte Mason's 12th Principle:
12. "Education is the Science of Relations"; that is, that a child has natural relations with a vast number of things and thoughts: so we train him upon physical exercises, nature lore, handicrafts, science and art, and upon many living books, for we know that our business is not to teach him all about anything, but to help him to make valid as many as may be of––
          "Those first-born affinities
      "That fit our new existence to existing things." --A Philosophy of Education, xxx
Below is a list of about 100 poems (or songs or passages from Shakespeare) that we have enjoyed together as a family, one week at a time. I've noted the collection where we read that particular poem but know that many of these poems appear in more than one of the books listed below. I've also grouped them into a few categories just for ease of viewing. Most could fit into several categories.

Some may be too silly, too gruesome, too scary, or just not fit with your family culture. Reasonable minds can disagree about what makes a poem good or beautiful! Nevertheless, I hope that you can find many choices to get you started with your own practice of adding beauty to your family's imagination.

This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure to learn more.

Poems that Tell a Story

The Dentist and the Crocodile by Roald Dahl in Poetry Speaks to Children
The Tale of Custard the Dragon by Ogden Nash in The Tale of Custard the Dragon
The Owl and the Pussy-Cat by Edward Lear in The Oxford Treasury of Classic Poems
The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod by Eugene Field in The Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children's Poems
Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll in Poetry Speaks to Children
Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out by Shel Silverstein in The Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children's Poems
A Visit From St. Nicholas by Clement C Moore in Once Upon a Poem
Goldilocks by Roald Dahl in Once Upon a Poem
Adventures of Isabel by Ogden Nash in Classic Poems to Read Aloud
Casey at the Bat by Ernest L. Thayer in Poetry Speaks to Children
Frodo's Song in Bree by J.R.R. Tolkien in Poetry Speaks to Children
Kubla Khan by Samual Taylor Coleridge in Classic Poems to Read Aloud
The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes in Once Upon a Poem

Silly Poems

Balloons by William Jay Smith in Poetry Speaks to Children
Bear Song by Kay Ryan in Poetry Speaks to Children
Sneeze by Maxine Kumin in Poetry Speaks to Children
Mrs. Mitchell's Underwear by Dennis Lee in Poetry Speaks to Children
Daddy Fell Into the Pond by Alfred Noyes in Poetry Speaks to Children
Knitted Things by Karla Kuskin in Poetry Speaks to Children
Habits of the Hippopotamus by Arthur Gutterman in The Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children's Poems
Antonio & Eletelephony by Laura E. Richards in The Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children's Poems
We Must Be Polite (Lessons for Children on How to Behave Under Peculiar Circumstances) by Carl Sandburg in The Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children's Poems
You Are Old, Father William by Louis Carroll in Classic Poems to Read Aloud
Too Many Daves by Dr. Seuss in The Random House Book of Poetry for Children
My Name Is . . . By Pauline Clarke in The Random House Book of Poetry for Children
The Duel by Eugene Field in The Harp and Laurel Wreath
Me by Karla Kuskin in The Random House Book of Poetry for Children
The Folk Who Live in Backward Town by Mary Ann Hoberman in The Random House Book of Poetry for Children

Seasonal or Nature Poems

Summer & Winter by W.D. Snodgrass in Poetry Speaks to Children
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost in Poetry Speaks to Children
Something Told the Wild Geese by Rachel Field in The Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children's Poems
Thanksgiving Time by Langston Hughes
Fog by Carl Sandburg in The Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children's Poems
All Creatures Great and Small by Cecil Frances Alexander
What is Orange? By Mary O'Neill in The Random House Book of Poetry for Children
Sea Fever by John Masefield in The Oxford Treasury of Classic Poems
When the Frost is on the Punkin by James Whitcomb Riley in The Harp and Laurel Wreath

Poems About Witches and Other Magical Creatures

The Witches' Ride by Karla Kuskin in Poetry Speaks to Children
The Fairies by William Allingham in Classic Poems to Read Aloud
The Witch by Jack Prelutsky in Classic Poems to Read Aloud
The Hag by Robert Herrick
Hist Whist by ee cummings in Poetry Speaks to Children

Poems About Animals

Excerpt from The Elephant's Child by Rudyard Kipling in Poetry Speaks to Children
The Tyger by William Blake in Poetry Speaks to Children
The Blind Men and the Elephant by John Godfrey Saxe in The Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children's Poems
The Cow-Boy's Song by Anna Maria Wells in The Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children's Poems
Macavity the Mystery Cat by T.S. Eliot in The Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children's Poems
Song of the Rabbits Outside the Tavern by Elizabeth Coatsworth in The Oxford Book of Children's Verse in America
There Once Was a Puffin by Florence  Page Jaques in The Harp and Laurel Wreath
Seal by William Jay Smith in The Random House Book of Poetry for Children
The Secret Song by Margaret Wise Brown in Poetry Speaks to Children
Bird Talk by Aileen Fisher in The Harp and Laurel Wreath
The Donkey by G.K. Chesterton in The Oxford Treasury of Classic Poems
The Kraken by Lord Alfred Tennyson

Poems About Being A Child

The Land of Counterpane by Robert Louis Stevenson in A Child's Garden of Verses
I am Cherry Alive by Delmore Schwartz in Poetry Speaks to Children
Brother by Mary Ann Hoberman in Poetry Speaks to Children
How to Stay up Late by X.J. Kennedy in Poetry Speaks to Children
Flashlight by X.J. Kennedy in Poetry Speaks to Children
The Land of Story-Books by Robert Louis Stevenson in A Child's Garden of Verses
Where Go the Boats by Robert Louis Stevenson in A Child's Garden of Verses
My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson in A Child's Garden of Verses
Animal Crackers by Christopher Morley in The Harp and Laurel Wreath
Escape at Bedtime by Robert Louis Stevenson in A Child's Garden of Verses
Picture Books in Winter by Robert Louis Stevenson in A Child's Garden of Verses
Block City by Robert Louis Stevenson in A Child's Garden of Verses
Excerpt from The Bed Book by Sylvia Plath in Poetry Speaks to Children

Shakespeare

Polonius' advice to Laertes from Hamlet by William Shakespeare
To Be or Not To Be from Hamlet by William Shakespeare
What a Piece of Work is Man from Hamlet by William Shakespeare
It would be well if it were done quickly from Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Witches Chant from Macbeth by William Shakespeare
The raven himself is hoarse that croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan from Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Is this a dagger I see before me from Macbeth by William Shakespeare
She should have died hereafter from Macbeth by William Shakespeare

More Classics, Patriotic, and Miscellaneous

I'm Nobody & There is no Frigate like a Book by Emily Dickenson in The Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children's Poems
The Village Blacksmith by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in The Harp and Laurel Wreath
The Flag Goes By by Henry Holcomb Bennett in The Harp and Laurel Wreath
The Children's Hour by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in The Harp and Laurel Wreath
Columbus by Joaquin Miller in The Harp and Laurel Wreath
The Star-Spangled Banner by Frances Scott Key in The Harp and Laurel Wreath
My Heart's in the Highlands by Robert Burns
The Arrow and the Song by William Wadsworth Longfellow in The Harp and Laurel Wreath
Books Fall Open by David McCord in The Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children's Poems
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
O Captain! My Captain! By Walt Whitman in The Harp and Laurel Wreath
Anger by Charles and Mary Lamb
Uphill by Christina Rossetti in The Oxford Treasury of Classic Poems
Ozymandius by Percy Bysche Shelly  in Classic Poems to Read Aloud
To the Virgins to Make Much of Time by Robert Herrick in The Harp and Laurel Wreath
This Land is Your Land  (folksong) by Woody Guthrie
John Henry (folksong)
Hope by Emily Dickenson
Follower by Seamus Heaney in The Oxford Treasury of Classic Poems
Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night Dylan Thomas in The Oxford Treasury of Classic Poems

Poetry collections cited above (if you don't see the pictures, click over to the post):

1 comment:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...