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How to Introduce Poetry to Kindergarten Children.

”Old McDonald had a farm E-I-E-I-O,” can you remember learning this nursery rhyme and other similar rhymes when you were a child?  Thinking back, this was my these nursery rhymes were my first introduction to poetry. it wasn’t introduced as such but it does bring up the question to how to introduce poetry to Kindergarten.

Introducing poetry in kindergarten children can achieved by introducing them to nursery rhymes, and other rhyming activities.  A nursery rhyme is a poem that tells a fun and sometimes amusing story and has words that rhyme.  Other forms of poetry can be introduced later as they progress through their school years.

The first recorded Nursery Rhymes were in the mid-16th century, but how are they linked to poetry?  How do teachers explain poetry to children, and why is it still taught in our modern schools?

It is often considered a more difficult Aspect of english learning, so it poetry suitable for kindergarten age children. We think so, but with a few adaptations. We will look at those below.

How To introduce Poetry To Kindergarten

How Is A Nursery Rhyme Linked To Poetry?

Nursery Rhymes are short poems or rhyming songs used to teach English to children over many years.   Children are still being taught Nursery Rhymes in Kindergarten and the early grades of Elementary schools in the US and other countries.

Parents first introduce their children to Nursery Rhymes and poems at home; from when they are babies, parents would sing a lullaby to them, and then later nursery rhymes are taught to toddlers as a form of play.  Parents will teach their young children nursery rhymes that they learned when they were children, so this culture and tradition pass on through the generations.

As the child matures and progresses through their school career, they are introduced to more classical poems often written by famous poets. When we introduce poetry to kindergarten it is important to focus on the simpler forms of poetry.

How Can Poetry be introduced in Kindergarten?

Introduce children in Kindergarten to poems in the form of nursery rhymes or rhyming songs.  Begin with short and simple verses that are easy to memorize.  Make learning a fun-filled experience using actions, facial expressions, and sing-a-longs will help them easily remember the rhymes.

Here are some ideas to introduce poetry to Kindergarten:

1. Read Out Loud

Begin by saying the rhyme out loud, use beats and sounds of rhythm to attract the children to participate.  Repeat the verse a few times, each time adding more expressions and actions and letting them have fun while learning.  Walk them around the classroom while sounding out the rhyme, using facial expressions, and stamping or clapping to the beat.

2. Sing-a-Long

Children can learn poetry through songs.  Allow the children to watch videos of singing nursery rhymes.  They will soon want to join in and sing along. Songs, of which there are plenty on youtube are a great way to introduce poetry to kindergarten

3. Use Pictures

Read the nursery rhyme and poems from books that are illustrated with pictures and share these with the children.  Through visuals, children can identify and imagine the story behind the rhyme.

4. Shared Reading

Read the nursery rhyme or poem from a book, then let the class read the poem aloud while the teacher points to the words.  Repeat this one more time.  Then in just a summary, discuss with the class what the poem entails.   Practice reading every day for a few days until their reading becomes more fluent.

5. Drawings

Give the class a copy of the poem on a sheet of paper.  Let the children draw their pictures and create their interpretation of the poem. young children love to be creative so by showing them they can express this when you introduce poetry to kindergarten will help them engage with the text in their own way.

6. Play with Rhyming Words

You can point out the rhyming words in the poem and ask the children to make up their own rhyming words.   Allow them a few simple words as examples, such as; ball, hug, mat, etc., and ask them to find rhyming words to match.

Children love to learn Nursery Rhymes and all the actions and activities that form part of the process. They enjoy it even more, when teachers and parents join in the fun.  Although this seems like a pleasant and easy way to first learn poetry, there are excellent reasons and benefits for teaching poetry in schools.

How To introduce Poetry To Kindergarten

Using Poetry with Phonics In Kindergarten.

Although ther eare ways to introduce poetry to kindergarten with out phonics. The simple CVC words in the initial stages allow for rhyming to be introduced. This co ers both phonics and poetry and has been done for decades, including in the ever popular Dr Seuss books. ( link below)

We also have created our own CVC poems you can access which can be printed and laminated. They cover the short vowel sounds in a short poem with some comprehension questions included.

Why Do We Still Need To Teach Poetry In Kindergarten?

Teaching poetry to young children has many benefits, such as:

Promotes Language and Early Literacy

Teaching poetry to kindergarten and young children promotes the love of language and words.  Children learn that they can read poetry aloud to create rhythm and rhyme within a story.  Poems for Kindergarten have short sentences and passages and are easy to read, stimulating young children to move towards becoming emergent readers.

Improves Memory and Focus

Learning poetry improves memory as children read, recite or sing the poem many times before memorizing it.  By repeating the learning process, the brain is training to store memory.  They learn to focus on a particular task by reciting the poem until they commit it to memory.  These qualities will prove valuable for the future learning at higher school levels.

Children Learn To Express Themselves

Children can recite poetry in many forms of expressions, movement, dance, and singing.  These types of recital allow the child to discover their creativity and express their feelings and thoughts about the nursery rhyme or poem.  Learning these skills prepares, encourages, and enables children to communicate by voicing their emotions and views about important issues.

Poetry Teaches Social Skills

Children learn to communicate and recite or sing together during poetry sessions, simulating actions, movements, and facial expressions.  Parents and children form a close bond by singing lullabies as babies or reciting nursery rhymes or poetry to toddlers and young children.

Literacy Activity Using Poems

Kindergarten children can learn their sight words as well as letters through short poems or nursery rhymes.  Make copies of a poem containing some sight words that they have already memorized and hand a copy to each child.  Request them to recognize and highlight the sight words within the poem.

You can use the same activity to find and highlight specific letters of the alphabet within the poem’s verses.  Once completed, the poem may be stored to be learned and recited in a forthcoming lesson.

How To introduce Poetry To Kindergarten

if you are looking for ideas for later grades we have our poetry in first grade article here to check out as well.


The best method to explain poetry to Kindergarten children is by teaching them nursery rhymes, or if you want to introduce phonics then through simple CVC poems.  You can use many ideas to tell these poetic stories to children. 

Teaching poetry to young children has many benefits, such as learning to express their feelings, and it teaches them social skills by working and learning poems together. 

Children improve their ability to focus while memorizing a poem, and they understand the beauty of language and how it can create rhythm and rhyme by reading aloud.  Poems are stepping stones to opening up the wonderful world of creative speech and expression for young children as they develop and grow into adulthood.





I have been a teacher of English for over 15 years, in that time i made hundreds and thousands of resources and learnt so much i think its worth sharing. Hopefully to help teachers and parents around the world.

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