One of the most delightful ways to teach children to read and to gain an appreciation for language—including for very young tots—is to expose them to amusing poems and verse in the form of illustrated books for children. You can choose from a wide selection, available at libraries, bookstores, thrift shops, resale shops, on the Internet, and elsewhere.
For babies and preschoolers, read the books aloud. Kindergarteners may enjoy guessing what word in a poem or verse comes next. Early and developing readers will gain confidence by reading, and have fun at the same time.
To get started, here are some favorites:
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. Children relate to this charming story about a little rabbit that tries to postpone his bedtime. The poem's soothing rhymes make this book a wonderful part of a bedtime routine. For babies to pre-schoolers.
- Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? by Dr. Seuss. A timeless poem that delights the ear. Children enjoy imitating the noises that Mr. Brown can make, from the buzz-buzz of a bee to the clop-clop-clop of a horse's hooves. For babies to pre-schoolers.
- Now We Are Six by A. A. Milne. This classic collection of poems embarks children on enchanting adventures with Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin, and their friends in the Hundred Acre Woods. For children in pre-K to 4th Grade.
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle. The poem's musical rhythm and brightly colored illustrations spur children to predict which animal will be on the next page. An irresistible book for tots. For ages 3 to 8.
- The Greedy Python by Eric Carle. This funny tale about a python that eats everything in sight teaches young children about greediness in a most entertaining way. For ages 3 to 8.
- The Cat in the Hat; Fox in Socks; Green Eggs and Ham; Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss. Early readers delight at the humorous characters in these brightly illustrated classics, which are as much fun today as when they were written in the 1960s. For ages 4 to 8.
- Bear Snores On; Bear Stays Up for Christmas; Bear Wants More; Bear's New Friend; Bear Feels Scared; Bear Feels Sick by Karma Wilson. Follow bear and his pals—hare, mole, owl, wren and badger—as they learn about the joys of friendship in these warming and funny books. For ages 4 to 8.
- A Light in the Attic; Where the Sidewalk Ends; Falling Up; Runny Babbit by Shel Silverstein. Silverstein's world is a silly place where unlikely things happen, creating laugh-out-loud delights for kids and adults alike. Essential in any collection of poems and verse for children. For youngsters in grades K to 6.