Last Thursday was one of my very favourite National Days, National Poetry Day. It was celebrated across the country with some truly excellent events, including the announcement of the winners of not one but TWO Young Poet Awards, and marked by Bookstart with some great poetry resources on their website (including some lovely rhyming activity sheets with illustrations by, amongst others, Axel Scheffler – whose work you can see at the top of this post – and Seb Braun, which you can download here).
Thursday was also our October publication day, which is why we didn’t blog about National Poetry Day then, but better late then never, I say – any reason to write about poems is a good one. On Twitter I asked for everyone’s favourite children’s poems (or poets), and we had a great response:
@Elephantthai wrote: “Spike Milligan’s ‘On the Ning Nang Nong’. One of the best poems ever.”
@katbaker88 wrote: “I had a book of cat poems from the cat’s protection league which I still read now. Here’s a great one: http://bbc.in/TdDg8K”
@Readitdaddy wrote: “Fave kids poem? Jack Prelutsky’s “The Cow Poem.” Try reading it and give your child £1 every time you fluff a line :)”
@aitcheldee wrote: “I love ketchup! by (I think!) Korky Paul. It’s in an anthology we have.”
@MiriamReads wrote: “Where the Sidewalk Ends.”
@DamyantiPatel wrote: “how about some Colin McNaughton, we like ‘Wish you were here’”
And I wrote that some of my favourite poets and poems were anything by Michael Rosen (I have particularly fond memories of reading Quick, Let’s Get Out Of Here! and You Wait Till I’m Older Than You! cover-to-cover, CONSTANTLY), the Please Mrs Butler collection by Allan Ahlberg, and – of course – some Dr. Seuss (my favourite is Green Eggs and Ham).
Bookstart also list on their website some of the reasons why poetry is so valuable for young children:
★ Help your child learn and develop – rhymes are often repetitive, making the words easier to learn.
★ Support social skills – your child will naturally learn about taking turns and joining in
★ Gets your child ready for school – Rhyme, rhythm and repetition help to develop reading skills
★ They’re fun for all – everyone can join having fun with rhymes, with no special skills required!
What were your favourite poems as a child? And what ones do you read to your children now? Leave your recommendations in the comments below!