Have you started poetry tea time with your kids? Julie Bogart of Brave Writer has introduced this idea that seems to be catching fire in the homeschooling community.
The idea is simple: create an enjoyable environment to read poetry with your kids.
The environment can change from one time to the next, but in our house we always have hot chocolate, most times we have a snack, like muffins, and occasionally the kids will put together a centerpiece from their favorite items in our yard. Since my kids can’t fully read yet, they simply pick out the pictures that appeal to them and I read the poems. As they get older, we’ll share in reading aloud.
So, what poetry books for children do we come back to time and time again?
Dawud Wharnsby is well known for his folk-style nasheeds, especially his CDs geared for children. What is less well known are his poetry books, and some of them capture his CDs in print format. I personally wanted to start with something different than his CDs, so we chose Picnic of Poems. All are adorable poems made for children to enjoy with Islamic themes and values, and of these three books listed here, it has the most colorful pictures, which my Amatullah (age 3) loves.
Anything by Shel Silverstein, really, is great for this age. My kids love how silly the pictures are, and the poems that go with them are even more so. At this age, silly is just fine. It’s the joy of poetry we are trying to build in them, and a mix of more elegant poetry with very silly poetry is just fine with a 3 and 6 year old.
This is the book that started it all for us. While I was watching Julie Bogart (from Brave Writer) on Periscope, she was talking about their poetry tea time routine. I just loved the idea of reading poetry together with hot chocolate, treats, and occassionally a homemade center piece. During that scope, she suggested this book, which is out of print, but it’s very easy to find online. As I write this, the book is available on Amazon for 1 cent, plus shipping.
We’ve picked up poetry books from the library, and besides other Shel Silverstein books, I just haven’t fallen in love with anything else as much as I like the above three books – at least right now while my kids are young.
Just like with anything else in homeschooling, we’ll find what works for us in this season, and adjust as we grow and change.