Poetry – Children’s Literature Genres


Photo By: Bruce McKay

Children’s Literature Genres: Poetry

When you think of topics most children enjoy reading, poetry may not be the first thing that comes to mind.  Most children do like to read poetry though.  Because of the rhythms and lyrical nature of poetry, it is especially fun to read out loud.

Poetry Characteristics

Because there are many different types of poetry, its characteristics vary between poems.  Many poems have some type of rhyme scheme (a pattern of rhyming words).  Poetry also is set up in stanzas rather than paragraphs.  A third quality found in poetry is the use of figurative language.  Poetry has to fit complex ideas into fewer words so it often uses language that is figurative – painting a word picture for the reader.

Poetry for Younger Children

  • When We Were Very Young by A.A. Milne – This collection of poems tell about the life of a young boy growing up in England.
  • The Neighborhood Mother Goose by Nina Crews – Classic nursery rhymes have been updated with new, colorful illustrations that children of all ages will love.
  • Poems for the Very Young by Michael Rosen – Included in this anthology are poems by both classic and modern poets designed to be read aloud to young children.

Poetry for Older Children

  • “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Lawrence Thayer – This poem tells the story of a baseball player in the last inning of a game.  Children will wait eagerly to hear if the great Casey is able to bring his team to victory or not!
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein – This is a whole collection of poems and drawings designed to appeal to children’s imaginations.  Your child will love not only the beautiful poems, but the pictures as well.
  • A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson – This set of poems takes everyday items and gives them new meaning through the eyes of a child.

Although you can encourage your child to read poetry by himself, you could also read the poems to him.  Poetry is designed to be read aloud, and your child will enjoy not just the meaning of the words, but also the rhythm and sounds found throughout the poem.

What is your favorite poem to read out loud?

Elementary Reading Curriculum at Smart Tutor

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