James and I have been reading through A Child’s Introduction to Poetry, as scheduled in BookShark’s American History 1.
This book is also scheduled in Sonlight’s Core D, which I did with Grace and Christopher, so this is my second time through the book. It is one of my very favorite books from this Core, and it’s a really easy way to do a poetry study with young kids.
This book is scheduled over 36 weeks: a full school year. We generally cover one poet per week. Each poem has an accompanying CD track, so you can listen to the poem being read aloud.
Our poetry CD has a permanent spot in our disc changer. I don’t think it has moved since last August!
A Child’s Introduction to Poetry is a full-color, nicely illustrated book with lots of helpful sidebars. It is definitely a book best read side-by-side on the couch, so you can pore over it a bit. Each poet generally gets a double-page spread, though some poets have three pages. Each week I begin by reading aloud the main text, which includes information about the poet’s life and work.
Next I read the “Words for the Wise” section, which introduces words from the poem that might be unfamiliar. In the poem itself, these words appear in bold, colored print.
A sidebar includes information about when the poem was published, as well as some insight into its meaning. This sidebar also includes the relevant track number on the CD that we will listen to.
Then I read the poem aloud. This week we had “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost, one of my very favorite poets.
After I read the poem aloud, we listen to the narrator read it on the CD. We usually listen to each poem twice, because I feel like we get more out of it that way. Some poets are given space for two or three poems, depending on length. This takes us only 15 minutes tops, and then we are done until the next week.
The only small quibble I have with this book is that I don’t like the narrators’ voices. I just don’t always love the way they read the poems and the voices they do are kind of cheesy. For the record I don’t enjoy hearing Jim Weiss reading The Story of the World either, so I may just be weird. Other than that I love this book/CD combo. There is a good mix of easier, shorter poems and longer, more advanced ones. Many forms of poetry are included: sonnets, pastorals, limericks, ballads, nursery rhymes, and more. I think Amazon’s age range of 8-13 for this book is spot on.We are using it during James’s fourth grade year.