Poems in Kindergarten
How do poems help children?
So the question really should be, “What are the academic benefits of poetry?”
The demands of poetry
Students must deploy numerous skills to navigate poetry:
- decipher the figurative language in poetry
- infer the deeper meaning of the poem*
- create sensory images
- make connections
- appreciate rhythm and rhyme
- repeated exposure to sight words
*In the primary grades, we don’t dive too deep into poems that need complex interpretation. However, I remember suffering through these PAINFUL poetry lessons when I was in high school. They made my head hurt. Here is what Fountas and Pinnell had to say,
“If [you] are going to learn to love poetry, [you] need to feel it and enjoy the language first…Young children respond to rhymes, chants, and songs (not properly called poetry according to scholars, but an important foundation for appreciating poetry.”
Poems in Kindergarten Means Enlarged Print for Shared Reading
We use enlarged print in the poems because it allows the students to focus on the print during our whole class lessons. Using a variety of pointers is a great way to help students track print from left to right.
At the beginning of the year, students start by pointing to each word as they read the poem. Then we gravitate towards sliding the pointer underneath the words during shared readings. Towards the end of the year, we simply point to the line we are reading. Student helpers are always brought forward to lead us.
Sometimes we need to offer more support so we work hand-over-hand with the student. Other students can handle this task independently.
We also have a single page that allows you to display the entire poem on interactive whiteboards or under a document camera. It is an easy way to display the poems in different ways.
Poems in Kindergarten: EVERYBODY participates!
Besides being so much fun, we want every
As we introduce each new poem, we also do some word work. A copy of the poem goes into their poetry folder or notebook. Then students can circle capital letters, find a certain letter or the sight word of the week. It all depends on your mini lesson.
These activities are from the interactive poetry notebook component of my poetry units. As you can see, at the beginning of the year, my kindergarten students really focus on beginning skills. As the school year progresses, we get to the more rigorous language skills.
As you can see these are short poems and
In kindergarten, we do concept sorts (included in the poetry units). You can add these poems to your literacy centers as well.
(This is the included student response page.)
We also do word sorts to support phonemic awareness.
Regardless of the activity, my kindergartners are participating during our poetry time. No beauty shop here… yes, braiding hair can be fun, but EVERYONE needs to participate in the activity.
Some students need the support of the class sort, while others can handle this on their own. Here are a few more of the interactive poetry notebook pages.
Poems in Kindergarten: The use of poems builds fluency
I have written extensively about how we use poetry to influence fluency. You can read that post HERE. But here are a few more words from Fountas and Pinnell:
“For young children, poems, chants, rhymes, and songs have natural qualities that help them become familiar with rhythm and tone. They are easy to remember and fun to repeat.”
Each poem has an emergent reader so students can practice the poem during the week to build fluency.
Where can I find Poetry for Kindergartners?
I have created a few sets of poetry for kids! You can find them by clicking below:
- Poetry and Shared Reading BUNDLE (for kindergarten students)
- Poetry and Shared Reading BUNDLE (for kindergarten or first-grade students)
- Poetry and Shared Reading Nursery Rhyme BUNDLE
Poems in Kindergarten: So what is next?
I have been asked to create a second year’s worth of original poems. I am thrilled that districts have adopted my poems for their teachers. Now kindergarten teachers AND first grade teachers can use my poetry units.
SIDENOTE: I hate my handwriting!
That is it! I loved using poems in my classroom and my kids loved them!
Read more about poetry!
- Poetry: 5 Day Fluency Made EASY
- Nursery Rhyme Lesson Plans for Kindergarten (FREE File)
- Poetry Books in Kindergarten! FREE Organization Resource
- Poetry in Kindergarten | It’s Like Free Books But BETTER!
Poems in kindergarten and more!
These poems for kids have been tested! For the last three years, I have used these poems in my kindergarten classroom and my students LOVED them. Based on what I have heard from many of you, your students enjoy these poems too! Younger children have sometimes experienced their first taste of poetry with nursery rhymes.
Poetry Free Download for Kindergarten
Simply enter your email address to download a free sample of my campfire poem and activities.
I know you are working on year 2 of new poems, music and beyond the poem. Will the activities for poetry notebook be tailored more for 1st grade or maybe include differentiated/challenging. I just wondered if I’m looping with my kids is the interactive poetry notebook will be more challenging for 1st ? Thanks so much. Just wondered it it would be too easy or not?
You are in my head. I’m going to make the phonics/sorts more challenging for sure!
Awesome!!!! Thanks so much. I have been at AMSTI training all week with my new team and have been sharing all about you and Deanna! They are excited about the poetry unit and the interactive component. Like me they were concerned it wouldn’t be challenging enough. I madder hearing back from you, I text them to say,”No worries!” I told them you had 1st in mind when creating those activities! That puts my mind at rest! Thank you so much!!! I love you to pieces! ? Let me know when August and September are ready! Can’t wait to purchase them and get my notebooks ready! Later alligator!
Ok typo! After hearing back…
Same back at you friend!
I am wanting to make sure that I purchase the correct materials. I am going to purchase the Aug., Sept., and October Poetry Units. If I also purchase the purple Poetry Interactive Component, will it have all of the Interactive components for the notebook for all three Poetry units? Or is their an interactive poetry companion for each poetry unit?
Hi there, so the interactive notebooks have a full year of notebook options. It will include Septembers and Octobers response options. Does that make sense?
Yes, it does…will the interactive notebook also tell me which poems in the poetry units it can be used for? Also, this is my first time using an interactive notebook with Kindergartners. Do teachers cut everything in advance or is it easy enough for the students to cut it out?
Hi Deedee I was wondering (and hoping) that your next Poetry unit might be a math based one!! I know lots of your poems are counting ones etc but it’s too expensive for me to buy the whole set just for a few whereas if I knew all the poems were math based ( counting, shape, spatial /measurement language) I would happily buy the unit. A kinder unit would be perfect…..please. I mainly teach the math part of our curriculum, hence the interest. I do poems with my kids…but nothing as wonderful as this would be!!
WAH! Sorry, they are really more of a thematic base. HOWEVER… you have my mind spinning with possibilities!!! Perhaps I could create a few that would cover math concepts in the future!
OH, DeeDee!! I am so excited to delve into these updated versions of your poetry units! I am a HUGE fan and I look forward to getting these updates ready for the new school year!! Thank you!!
Thank you so MUCH! I really appreciate it!!!
Just love teaching poetry, and teaching with poetry in kindergarten! Thank you for your wonderful insights!
Hi! Looking for your Campfire Song. You shared it a conference.
Was hoping it was in one of your monthly poetry downloads.
It is free in my TpT store. Here is the link:
FREE Campfire Song