Poetry Challenge for Kids {Week 2}

Welcome back to our (very casual) poetry challenge. Every Friday during National Poetry Month, I will be sharing one short, classic poem to read with your kids. The rules are very simple and flexible. You can learn all about them and get the first poem on the introductory poetry reading challenge post.

Poetry challenge for kids during National Poetry Month. Learn to love poetry.

Before I introduce this week’s poem… If you participated in last week’s poetry challenge I’d love to hear how it went. Here’s what happened at our home:

The first time I read the poem the kids listened quietly but had no response. I tacked the poem up next to our dining table so I wouldn’t forget to read it! The next day my 9 year old said, “We read that yesterday!” I explained I was going to read it at least once a day and all he had to do was listen, nothing else unless he wanted to. After I read it, he asked what “bower” meant. The third time, I discovered a layer of meaning and explained my finding, to which he just nodded. The fourth time he asked what “gallant” meant. I think it’s so interesting he didn’t try to learn the definitions of unfamiliar words the first time!

This week’s poem comes from American poet, Emily Dickinson. It’s a very short poem, but I think you’ll agree it is thick with meaning. I’m looking forward to hearing what my kids think of it!

A word is dead poem by Emily Dickinson chosen for the poetry reading challenge.

The best way to get to know a poem is to live with it. Read this poem out loud at least once every day for a week. Discuss it with your kids (if you want), print it out and tack it on the fridge or your bulletin board.

I have a printer friendly version here —> A Word poem 

I’ve seen the poem with different punctuation. I don’t know what version scholars have deemed official, but since reading it aloud is the goal of the poetry challenge I won’t spend too much time hemming and hawing over it.

The blog, The Prowling Bee is dedicated to looking at each of Dickinson’s poems and here’s her interpretation of “A Word”. You can read more about Emily Dickinson at Poets.org.

I’d love to hear from you! Did you manage to read the Robert Louis Stevenson poem from last week every day with your kids? Did you do any extension activities, or simply enjoy the reading? How did your kids like it? Do tell!

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  1. says

    Thanks so much, Erica! I wasn’t able to participate last week, but I’ll try it this week. I LOVE Emily Dickinson. I just subscribed to the Prowling Bee–thanks for sharing that!!

    • Erica MomandKiddo says

      The best part of this poetry challenge is that you don’t have to confine it just to Nat’l Poetry Month. :) I’m so glad you are enjoying the poems.

  2. Amy says

    Our first week of the challenge was wonderful. My 5 year-old asked to read the poem every day. She has half of it memorized without any intentional memorization. Her enjoyment led me to start reading A Child’s Garden of Verses aloud to her. She now asks to read “poems” every day. I never would have started this at this age without your challenge. Thank you!

    • Erica MomandKiddo says

      That’s so nice to hear, Amy! This morning at breakfast my 5 year old also recited the poem from memory–, also with no intentional memorization. Although my 9 year old didn’t!

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