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Poetry for early language development

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April is National Poetry Month, and poetry is a great reading experience to develop language skills for young children. Reading poetry to young children offers many opportunities for them to learn vocabulary, rhyming words, and skills to help them master reading by learning word decoding with syllabication in the rhymes they hear and later learn to read. Poems can paint language pictures and children learn the skills of description by listening to poetry.

Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten teachers in the Sarasota County Schools use poetry for language development. Two of the sections from the Kindergarten Readiness Screening Tests that are given to children during the first 30 days of kindergarten each year address Emergent Literacy and Language and Communication skills that kindergarten students should master during the year of kindergarten. Reading poetry to young children highlights emergent literacy skills such as matching the illustrations to the words in the poem, using a fun read-aloud poem to find sight words, and listening for rhyming words. Poems highlight language and communication skills by giving children the opportunity to learn description, new vocabulary words, and how to use words effectively. The category of Motor Development is also a section in the Kindergarten Readiness Screening that is used in the Sarasota County Schools each year for kindergarten students. Poetry can be a great way to get children moving in order to develop good motor skills. Poetry chants can be used for jumping rope, moving to a rhythm in a poem that has been set to music, and even with a fine motor activity in painting to a rhythmic poem.

Check out these poetry books for children with classic poems, nursery rhymes, and add some Seuss to your poetry reading this month.

A child's poetry book
A child's poetry book Getty Photos

A child's poetry book

"A Child's Book of Poetry", edited by Gyo Fujikawa, is a great choice for an anthology of classic poems for children.  Illustrations with multicultural children are especially appealing.  Animals, nature, the seasons are all topics that children can relate to in hearing these selected poems.  This anthology is recommended for children ages 3-7.  It was published by Sterling Publishing, and has an ISBN of 9781402750618.

Mother Goose let loose
Mother Goose let loose Getty Photos

Mother Goose let loose

The Mother Goose collection edited by Gyo Fujikawa is a good choice to add classic rhymes to poetry reading this month.  Mother Goose is a staple in children's poetry.  Great for a first language experience, and older children love Mother Goose, too.  This collection was published by Sterling Publishing, and has an ISBN of 9781402750649.  

Poetry in Seuss
Poetry in Seuss Getty Photos

Poetry in Seuss

Put some Seuss in your poetry reading this month with "Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book" at bedtime.  Little bug's yawning sets off a chain reaction with alarm clocks and snoring. Fun read-aloud for bedtime.  Seuss is always a favorite for poetry and learning a variety of language skills.  This book was published by Random House Children's Book, and has an ISBN of 9780394800912