Last year, for National Poetry Month, I put together a weekly challenge to get kids and families excited about reading poetry. It was the first time I had truly, intensely and deliberately started reading poetry with my kids. It was a marvelous experience, and poetry has remained a joyful part of our daily life. Rarely a day goes by when we do not read or recite a poem.
National Poetry Month was established in 1996 as a month long celebration of the literary form. Most likely your child's school will include poems in the curriculum during April, but I encourage you to read poetry in your home as well.
If you enjoyed participating in our poetry reading challenge last year I hope you will join us for a new poetry month challenge that starts next week. I am still working out exactly how I want to organize it, but I am really excited to share it with you. UPDATE: Find our 4 week poetry writing challenge here.
If you didn't participate, I'm organizing all the challenges here in a single post so you don't miss out! You can start any time you want and I'd love to hear about your experience. There are no guarantees in life, but for those of you who "have never gotten into poetry," I will be surprised if you do the challenge whole-heartedly and do not come out with new found respect for the art form.
How to do the challenge:
The rules are free and flexible. Each week's post contains a poem to print out and display in your home. The primary objective is to read a poem out loud with your kids at least once a day for a week. Each post also contains extension ideas and further resources for more ambitious kids and parents.
Poem: "A Child's Thought" by Robert Louis Stevenson
Extras: Frequently Asked Questions about how to participate. Extension ideas that can be used throughout the challenge.
See the post and get the printable --> Poetry challenge week 1
Poem: "A Word" by Emily Dickenson
Extras: Websites to visit.
See the post and get the printable --> Poetry challenge week 2
Poem: "There Was an Old Man with a Beard" by Edward Lear
Extras: Websites to visit with more Lear poems; make up your own limericks
See the post and get the printable --> Poetry challenge week 3
Poem: "What are Heavy" and "The Wind" by Cristina Rossetti
Extras: Learn about the author, read more Rossetti poems.
See the post and get the printable --> Poetry challenge week 4
Poem: "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by William Shakespeare
Extras: Our favorite poetry books for further reading. Links to poetry book lists.
See the post and get the printable --> Poetry challenge week 5
The most important thing to remember is that this is not a test! The objective is to enjoy the experience of reading poems, not to add another thing to your to do list. In the weekly posts, I recount our family's experience with the weekly poems, including surprises we made along the way.