"Older children should practice reading aloud every day, and their readings should include a good deal of poetry, to accustom him to the delicate rendering of shades of meaning, and especially to make him aware that words are beautiful in themselves, that they are a source of pleasure, and are worthy of our honour; and that a beautiful word deserves to be beautifully said, with a certain roundness of tone and precision of utterance. Quite young children are open to this sort of teaching, conveyed, not in a lesson, but by a word now and then.
What kind of poems should be selected for our children? They must grow up upon the best. There must never be a period in their lives when they are allowed to read or listen to twaddle or reading-made-easy. There is never a time when they are unequal to worthy thoughts, well put; inspiring tales, well told. Let Blake's 'songs of Innocence' represent their standard in poetry; De Foe and Stevenson, in prose; and we shall train a race of readers who will demand literature--that is, the fit and beautiful expression of inspiring ideas and pictures of life
"Collections" of poems are to be eschewed; but some one poet should have at least a year to himself, that he may have time to do what is in him towards cultivating the seeing eye, the hearing ear, the generous heart." Charlotte Mason
Select three poets to focus on per term. Read his or her poems for several weeks. If possible, read a short, interesting biography about that poet as well.
The Poetry for Young People compiled by Various: Introduce children to some of the greatest poets of all time through this special series covering a broad spectrum of themes and peoples.
Robert Louis Stevenson
A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson: Beloved Treasure Island scribe Robert Louis Stevenson wrote many imaginative, playful poems for his own children to enjoy.
Favorite Poems Old and New compiled by Helen Ferris Tibbets: This excellent anthology brings together a diverse selection of classic and contemporary poets writing on a wide range of subjects.
Favorite Nursery Rhymes from Mother Goose by Scott Gustafson: Mother Goose's classic tales come to vivid, dreamlike life through lush illustrations and gentle rhymes.
Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot: Meet some delightfully eccentric, rambunctious felines and enjoy Edward Gorey's equally whimsical illustrations in this fun and feisty classic.
Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl: Accompanied by his frequent collaborator, illustrator Quentin Blake, the beloved writer tackles classic fairy tales with his trademark rapier wit and scalding humor.
Dirty Beasts by Roald Dahl: These poems feature a number of imaginative animals overflowing with quirk and mystery certainly to the delight of many a child.
The Best of Ogden Nash by Ogden Nash: Compiled by the late poet's daughters, this anthology contains over 500 of his beloved light verses. However, some of the darker poems somewhat temper the delight and grant the volume more of a balance.
Read Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young by Jack Prelutsky: Here are more than 200 little poems to feed little people with little attention spans to help both grow.
Poems to Learn by Heart by Caroline Kennedy There's a poem to celebrate every moment in life-whether it's hitting a home run, watching a sunset, or laughing with your best friend. A poem is a gift of the heart that can inspire, reassure, or challenge us. Memorize it-share it-it's yours forever.
Children's Classic Poetry Collection compiled by Nicola Baxter: Poets generally more associated with adult audiences, such as G.K. Chesterton and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, still dabbled in writing pleasing works suitable for the very young.
Sea Fever by John Masefield: Older children interested in one poet's perspective of English history and its peoples would do well to pick up some of John Masefield's more notable works.
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein: With so many humorous sketches accompanying them, it makes sense that Shel Silverstein's poetry was some of the first many young people read on their own.
Piping Down the Valleys Wild compiled by Nancy Larrick: Introduce young readers to the works of Lewis Carroll, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost and many more with the classic compilation Piping Down the Valleys Wild
The Random House Book of Poetry for Children compiled by Jack Prelutsky: Poetry-loving kids will greatly enjoy the 572 poems hand-picked for them by the venerable Jack Prelutsky, making this a particularly excellent gift idea as well.
A Child's Book of Poems compiled and illustrated by Gyo Fujikawa: Gyo Fujikawa's gentle drawings breathe life and wonder into classic poems by Emily Dickinson, William Blake and many more beloved writers. A all time favorite for youngers students!
Hailstones and Halibut Bones by Mary O'Neill: Suitable for the youngest of readers, this book features verses meant to teach them color names and concepts.
How to Eat a Poem compiled by The American Poetry & Literacy Project and Academy of American Poets: All the contributors involved with the production of this anthology selected the classic and contemporary entries explicitly for their literary merit.
Possible Future Classics
Science Verse by Jon Scieszka: Both educational and entertaining, these poems introduce young readers to some of the most fascinating scientific principles around.
A. A. Milne
Pooh's Library Collection: Winnie-The-Pooh, The House At Pooh Corner, When We Were Very Young, Now We Are Six by A. A. Milne. Since 1926, Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends—Piglet, Owl, Tigger, and the ever doleful Eeyore—have endured as the unforgettable creations of A.A. Milne, who wrote this book for his son, Christopher Robin, and Ernest H. Shepard, who lovingly gave Pooh and his companions shape.
Thirteen Moons on a Turtle's Back by Joseph Bruchac and Jonathan London: Each poem — accompanied by Thomas Locker's lush illustrations — ties into an overarching narrative, where an Abenaki grandfather relays tales from different Native American traditions.
Mirror, Mirror by Marilyn Singer: Marilyn Singer's incredibly clever verses pull from familiar fairy tales and sport an intriguing structure that allows them to be read up and down alike.
A Book of Nonsense by Edward Lear: Edward Lear's anarchic verses provide an excellent conduit through which parents and children may bond over reading poetry.
Sing-Song by Christina G. Rosetti These verses — deceptively simple, light, often like a nursery rhyme in character — consider such topics as childhood activities, children's cruelty and gentleness, roses and wild flowers, nesting birds and farm animals, cold winter and blossoming spring.
The Bill Martin Jr Big Book of Poetry compiled by Bill Martin, Jr. and Michael Sampson: Another excellent anthology blending the classic with the contemporary, all wrapped up with lovely illustrations by the incomparable Eric Carle.
Beatrix Potter's Nursery Rhyme Book by Beatrix Potter: The perfect introduction to the world of Beatrix Potter, this nursery rhyme book is filled with Potter’s vibrant art and classic characters, offering a new world to explore on every page. The simple, repetitive language of the nursery rhymes, poems, and riddles will make this book a sure read-aloud favorite
It's Raining Pigs & Noodles by Jack Prelutsky: One of the most prolific writers and compilers of children's poetry ever, almost anything Jack Prelutsky pens is a classic. Be sure to read his other works not listed here as well!
Shape Me a Rhyme by Jane Yolen: Photographer Jason Stemple provides absolutely stunning images to bring Jane Yolen's poems about nature and form to vivid life.
An Egret's Day by Jane Yolen: More sumptuous photos accompanying informative, engaging and educational verses about a day in the life of a common water bird.
A Mirror to Nature by Jane Yolen: Another breathtaking collaboration between Jane Yolen and Jason Stemple, this time teaching children lessons on how reflections work in nature.