Being multilingual

Poetry is fun or how to make our children like poetry

All children like poetry from a very early stage, when we sing them lullabies and nursery rhymes. We all know that nursery rhymes help children to develop prereading skills and it’s our children’s first step in becoming successful readers as by listening to them, they develop their phonemic awareness, the ability to recognize the sounds that make up words and rhymes help children to learn new vocabulary.

One of the most famous collection of rhymes for early childhood is Mother Goose (a nice site also for parents to (re-)learn the melodies etc. is here ) or Dr. Seuss.

Those who know me, know that I love poetry. When I learn a new language, I usually listen to songs, so my approach to a new language is quite similar to the approach to language we usually use with our children.

I would like to share just a few of the resources I use with my children about english poetry:

All children enjoy funny rhymes. But sometimes, when they get older, these „baby-rhymes“ become less attractive. – How can we prevent that poetry becomes something boring and annoying for our children, something to be even embarassed for? They need peers who talk about subjects they’re more interested in, or who are simply funny for their age group.

For those who live in Europe and talk German, there’s a very interesting channel, arte, where you can find a great programm called poetry slam. People from different age groups perform their poetry. Have a look at these young poets „under 20“.

Or try to show your poetry-reluctant kids this great performance from Benjamin Zephaniah about „Talking Turkeys“.

or his poem „Faceless“

Do you have any other suggestions about poetry resources for toddlers, teenagers, and under-20’s?

19 replies »

  1. e.e. cummings, Roald Dahl, “The Goops” by Gelett Burgess (an oldie but a goodie), of course T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”.
    …and what about “Struwwelpeter”? That one is ghoulish and bloodthirsty enough to keep any kid interested. My brother and I loved it!


  2. Thank you for your input, Misrilou! Yes, E.E. Cummings’, of course… and T.S. Eliot’s books are great! I think the list would be neverending, but I would love to know what you liked the most as a child. About Roald Dahl: I only know his novels and short stories. Struwwelpeter: yes, it’s a classic for the authoritarian parenting style of the 19th century. Nowadays children tend not to take it too serious, but I wouldn’t show it to too small children 😉 – I didn’t know The Goops by Gelett Burgess.


  3. A great post full of wonderful ideas and links, an dany post with the peerless Benjamin Zephaniah is always going to be a winner.

    I would echo what Misirlou said in recommending Roald Dahl. I have also been reading Julia Donaldson stuff recently to my son. He loves the Gruffalo and Tyrannosaurus Drip at the moment. The great thing about Julian Donaldson’s stuff is that there is also a CD with songs for kids to sing along to as well.


    • Thank you, Stephen. Yes, Julia Donaldson’s Gruffalo is in our school the most liked book in our children’s school (among the kids under 8) (here’s a nice site with some songs: There are so many books that our children love and could listen to over and over (and over…) again.


    • Thanks, Rosalind, for your comment about this post. We love Dr Seuss too, but my son is getting a bit “too old” 😉 and prefers songs. We often do little rhyme-games, trying to find the best rhyme and adding a tune (from a song we all know). The children love it!


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