Teaching poetry to children can begin when they are babies! Learning the joy of words and rhythm and ideas as expressed in poetry can foster a lifelong love.
From time to time, we have also focused on a particular poet. For example, we once read a delightful children’s biography about Emily Dickinson, The Mouse of Amherst, which was told from the perspective of a mouse who lived in her room. That inspired us to read quite a few of Dickinson’s poems. We have also spent time with Robert Frost, A. A. Milne, Walt Whitman, and Shakespeare. At other times, we have read a "poem of the week."
There are a few things that I’ve discovered through the years that have aided us in our learning and appreciation of poetry.
~ Finally, we include poetry in our Morning Time. Each day, we take turns reciting the poems that we’re working on (for co-op or for our own enrichment). We may recite these same poems for several months...and believe me, if you recite a poem three or four days each week, it becomes a part of you! After all have recited, I read aloud a poem by a particular poet on whom we've chosen to focus for a time. We usually read the same poem for three consecutive days, and then begin reading another by the same poet. By reading many works of the same poet, we become familiar with his style, and discover the scope of his writing.
This may sound as if we spend a great deal of time in our homeschool studying poetry, but that is not the case. One of my basic homeschooling philosophies is “slow and steady over time”...and that certainly is the case with our “study” of poetry.
A little bit here, and a little bit there, and your students will learn to feel at home in the rich world of poetry!