National Poetry Month

by Jimmie Lanley on April 10, 2010

April is always National Poetry Month. And April 29th is 2010 Poem in Your Pocket Day. Will you be celebrating? Or  maybe you will make some plans for regularly incorporating poetry into your homeschool routine?

We probably won’t wait until April 29th, but I’ve decided to use the poem If We Must Die by Claude McKay as a tie-in to our WW2 studies. Supposedly American and British soldiers were given copies of this poem to put in their pockets for inspiration. It’s a pretty grim poem, but I guess that soldiers need such sort of strong talk to motivate themselves.

Here is the original Poem in Your Pocket verse by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers:

Keep a Poem in Your Pocket

Keep a poem in your pocket
and a picture in your head
and you’ll never feel lonely at night when you’re in bed.

The little poem will sing to you
the little picture bring to you
a dozen dreams to dance to you
at night when you’re in bed.

Keep a picture in your pocket
and a poem in your head
and you’ll never be lonely at night when you’re in bed.

Print poems for your pocket at or Homeschool Creations.  Or better yet, copy your own favorite poem. Here is a half sheet poetry page from Scholastic. And here is an accordion book template I created. (Click the image to download.)

If you want to read more about children and poetry, start with this wonderful article, Can Children’s Poetry Matter? by J. Patrick Lewis (hat tip to Farmschool who guest posted on HSBA Post).  More inspiration can be found in the interview of Michael Rosen, the UK Children’s Laureate, at Video Jug . He answers the questions:

  • What’s the best way to introduce kids to poetry?
  • What are the benefits of getting your child into poetry?
  • Do humans have an instinct for poetry?

Like most things, poetry is an acquired taste. I am so glad that I started very early to introduce poetry to Sprite. We started with the Random House Book of  Poetry for Children. It has lasted us several years, even with reading one poem each school day. Soon we’ll be moving on to using Classic Poems to Read Aloud in which the poems are longer and more challenging but still appropriate for children.

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