How Poetry for Kids Instills a Love of Reading

Poetry for kids

The first stories we were told as kids were likely poems. Perhaps it was a nursery rhyme that stuck with us and we still recite with our kids today. For my youngest son, it was “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”

Poetry for kids, especially poems that rhyme, allows children to discover reading in a different way.

Poems can be musical (“A-tisket, a-tasket, a green and yellow basket, for example.”) And the predictable patterns of rhyme make them fun to read aloud, while aiding in learning to read.  

Dr. Seuss books and nursery rhymes were some of our kids’ favorite books when they were little. We particularly loved There’s a Wocket in my Pocket, Hop on Pop and Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? The rhymes and meter made for entertaining stories while also building literacy skills.  

As the kids have grown, we’ve flooded our bookshelves with other types of poetry like the work of Shel Silverstein. His funny and outrageous poems have been a staple in our house for years.  

There is a place for poetry no matter the age of your child…or adult! We’ve included our top reasons poetry should be a part of your child’s library.

Benefits of Poetry for Kids


Helps Kids Learn to Read

According to The Journal of Language and Literacy Education, research supports that kids who are exposed to poetry at an early age have an easier time learning to read.

Nursery rhymes, in particular, enhance a child’s phonemic awareness through identifying the individual sounds in spoken words. In addition, poetry builds new vocabulary skills and fluency. Each of these is critical in the development of a strong reader.

Bite-Sized Stories

A poem is often a condensed message on one page.

Kids love to find out how a story ends. While a poem isn’t a short story, the reader is able to understand in a rather short amount of words what the author is trying to communicate.

This is one of the beauties of poems. Each reader may interpret a poem differently and the magic is in revealing the meaning.

Increases Memorization

Reciting the same nursery rhymes over and over again to children offers memorization by repetition, an important tool for kids.

A poem divided into short stanzas can assist in remembering a different idea in each stanza while the pattern of rhyme makes it easier to commit to memory.

I can recite ‘Jack and Jill’, ‘Humpty Dumpty’ and other short rhymes years (okay, many, many years) later because they were easy to remember due to their rhyme and rhythm. I’m guessing you can recite a few, too!

Learn Expression

Poems let kids express themselves in a healthy way. Whether the poem they are reading or writing is a direct reflection of their own experience or just a short, funny two-line stanza that makes them laugh, they are learning about expression.

Reading poetry aloud to your kids, or having them read aloud to you, also helps them hear and practice pitch, tone, and volume.  

Less Intimidating

Does your child look at words on a page and tense up because there isn’t much white space?

When kids are learning to read, less words on a page can be comforting to them. Reading needs to be a positive experience if your child is going to want to do it. Feeling overwhelmed and frustrated can hinder this experience.

Poems allow for more white space on the page and sometimes this is all your child needs to feel confident in tackling those words.

Our Poetry Book, The Yeti in My Freezer

Research shows children enjoy funny or silly poems. That’s one reason we recently published a new book, a compilation of children’s poetry called The Yeti in My Freezer.

The poems included in the book are silly, serious and funny all at once. We’ve also included a picture to accompany each poem.

While the book is not for sale at the moment, you can download a copy of the poems to share with your kids here.

Instill a Love of Reading

Discovering silly, rhythmic poems at a young age is a way to instill a love of reading for life.

Poetry for kids can be fun and educational at the same time. In our experience, if your child isn’t enjoying what they are reading, they won’t want to read. 

So head to your local library and check out a new book of poems or read a few poems aloud to your kids from our free download above.

Enjoy poems in big and little ways

And soon your child will begin to say

Please, can’t we read just one more today?

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