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Poetry Books & Activities for Kindergarten

Instructor: Cara Rogers
Incorporating rhyming poetry along with engaging activities will enhance students' learning experiences and help them enjoy learning to read. Keep reading to find a few examples of fun poetry books and activity ideas that you can use with your kindergarten students.

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss's classic children's story is full of easy rhymes and fun imagery. You can read this book aloud while your students follow along. Pretty soon, you will have the whole class repeating the refrain: 'I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them Sam-I-Am.'

  • Activity: To go along with Green Eggs and Ham, ask your students if they would like to eat green eggs and ham. Have them write and/or draw pictures depicting how they would feel if they were offered a meal of green eggs and ham. Once your students have completed their stories, let them share with the class and take a poll of how many students would or wouldn't eat this meal.

You can familiarize your students with the beloved author of this book using this lesson on Dr. Seuss. Students will learn biographical information and learn about various books by this author.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.

This poetry book, illustrated by Eric Carle, is comprised of simple poetry that connects each line to the image the line describes. The sing-song rhyming pattern will allow your students to catch onto the rhythm in the poem. Perhaps, they will even begin to guess what animals might be coming up next throughout the story.

  • Activity: After reading 'Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?' several times to the class, allow them to make up their own rhymes to fit the pattern of the story. Instead of 'Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see,' the students can insert their own animal or name while trying to maintain the rhythm and rhymes. For example, they might say 'Hippo, Hippo, What do you see,' and so on.

Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl

Revolting Rhymes twists classic fairy tales and alters their story lines in funny, unexpected ways. Dahl's rhymes create whimsical new versions of these tales, which will not only surprise your young listeners but also thrill them. Because this book is made up of revamped classic fairy tales, you can discuss the differences between the stories and what the students like about each version.

  • Activity: Once you have read a few of Dahl's poems, ask your students to write or draw their own version of a classic fairy tale. Once the students are done creating their pictures or stories, hang them up on a bulletin board to share with the rest of the class.

Before you begin this activity or before you read some of the poems to your students, use these two lessons to let them learn about the author, Roald Dahl, his books and poems, and the literary devices he uses in his writing.

A Resource for Teaching

Although most kindergartners can't yet read fluidly, simply hearing sounds and seeing the corresponding words can work as a great primer for learning to read. Reading poetry with your class also gives your students the chance to catch onto rhyming patterns and start to predict the words that are coming up, even if they aren't familiar with how to read them. Take a look at this lesson on teaching poetry to kindergarteners for additional ideas on how to use poetry in your classroom.

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