I’m pretty sure, as kindergarten teachers, we have a poem for everything from how to write numbers to our color words. We love poems in Kindergarten!
If you’re a kindergarten teacher who doesn’t yet have that love for poetry in the classroom, I encourage you to just give it a try. I think you’ll find that it will quickly grow on you.
Why are poems important in Kindergarten?
Poetry in Kindergarten is important because it helps our students naturally develop reading and phonemic awareness skills. Poems are one of the best ways to help students learn to hear rhyming words!
They also help students develop rhyme and rhythm. This is necessary for reading fluently and with expression.
As students listen to poems orally, they develop their listening and reading comprehension skills. They learn to develop a picture in their mind of what is happening in the poem. This will help strengthen their comprehension during read alouds as well.
Poems in Kindergarten help build vocabulary. Since the text is usually above students’ independent level, it usually contains new vocabulary words. Poetry allows students to hear those words in context, which helps build connections in their brain.
You can also use poems in Kindergarten to teach phonics and language skills! Students can find sight words in context, identify phonics patterns within words, and look at how the author uses sentence structure or parts of speech.
Seriously, is there anything you can’t use poetry for?
Why You Should Use Kindergarten Poems During Shared Reading
We use poetry during our shared reading time daily. Why? It is a quick literacy routine that gives you a lot of bang for your buck!
We use poems to work on reading comprehension, fluency, sight words, phonemic awareness, and phonics – not all in the same day, of course!
I choose poems that relate to our close read interactive read aloud for the week. Students are super engaged in the poems because “This is just like our book!” so they feel more connected to both texts.
How to Use Poetry in Kindergarten Shared Reading
We start every Monday by reading our poem together. I read the poem first. Then, students read the poem with me as I point to each word.
We discuss what the poem is about and what is happening in the poem. This literacy routine is quick – probably 5 minutes or less!
The next two days, we read the poem together for fluency. As students get more comfortable with the text, I will encourage them to read with more expression.
This is also when I might choose a phonemic awareness or language skill to work on. For example, we might discuss rhyming words and have students find them in the poem.
On Thursday, we find sight words in the poem. I will have students come up, find a sight word they know, and circle it or highlight it in the poem.
They also get a paper copy of the poem to put in their poetry folder. I have them highlight sight words they know. Then, they draw a picture of the poem.
On Friday, students get an emergent reader book of the poem. They get to see how the words from the poem translate to a book, just like many of our picture books.
My kindergarteners get to read their poetry book to a partner and then take it home to read to a family member.
Want to start using poems in your classroom?
I’ve made it easy for you! Every week of Little Readers Kindergarten has a poem for shared reading. This is an original poem written by me. These kindergarten poems are high interest because they relate to the close read interactive read aloud for the week.
Everything you need to use poems during shared reading is included. You can print the poem in poster size or project on your screen. Printable poems for Kindergarten poetry folders are included. Emergent readers are also included for each poem. Find it here!