Easily Add Poetry Recitation to Your Homeschool

Poetry recitation can be very easy!

In an effort to focus a bit more on the genre of poetry this year, my 2nd grader is completing a weekly recitation.  I honestly had no idea how much fun the two of us would have with this assignment!  Practice has become a bright spot each day and I watch him beam at the end of each week when the poem is successfully recited.

{Eli’s 1st poem of the year was just one stanza.}

How do we do it?


On Monday (or Tuesday), I read a poem to him and ask him to narrate it.  Wait, aren’t we talking about recitation?  Where does narration fit in?  It builds comprehension before memorization.  Often, poems can be a bit more difficult to understand than typical reading passages.  So, this weekly narration stretches his listening skills, processing speed and comprehension ability.

This same day, we’ll talk about any necessary vocabulary – again to help with comprehension and, of course, vocabulary building.  Then, I’ll ask him to read the poem aloud to me once.

{I often choose poems that go with a season or nature topic we’ve been studying.}


On the subsequent days, Eli practices the poem.  He reads it to himself.  He reads it aloud.  He covers the poem and begins to memorize it.

We talk a lot about the poetry devices of rhythm & meter.  This helps with memorization as he gets into the “swing” of how the poem is meant to be read.

I’ll also pull out very casual mini-lessons on things like rhyming words or punctuation.  He loves when I say, “Get out the whiteboard!”  That means I’m going to challenge him to spell some of the words he’s been reading in the week’s poem.

Occasionally, we’ll use the poem (or part of the poem) for copywork, too – maybe once a month.

{Eli’s 3rd poem of the year was a bit longer than the first two.}


By the end of the week, Eli recites the poem from memory.  This recitation time has obviously built memory, but it’s also great practice for public speaking.  (My little guy has been super-motivated by presenting his poem in front of a video camera and watching it back.)

{I love his smile at the end of this video.  This 4th poem gave him a bit of a challenge at first, so he was very proud to have made it through.  Oops — we forgot to brush his hair this day!)

Slow and Steady Growth

His first poem of the year was simply one stanza because I didn’t want to start this new venture off with frustration.  Each week after, I chose a poem that was just a little longer than the week before.  By the end of the semester, he was reciting four stanzas!

{Poem #5 – even longer.}

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Poetry Recitation Resources

Poems can come from anywhere. Our first semester’s poems all came from an oldie, but a goodie – Childcraft’s Poems and Rhymes.

I love this anthology from Childcraft for elementary poetry recitation.The poems are just perfect for elementary students in theme and length.  During the first semester, I chose the poems.  I’m considering allowing Eli to choose his own (from this book) for our second semester studies.

{Eli’s final poem of the semester took two weeks to memorize because of the new vocabulary.}

Why add poetry to your schedule?

Lots of reasons!  I’ll just give you a very quick run through of why I think poetry is important in any homeschool – not just the Charlotte Mason homeschool.

  • Poetry is a unique genre.
  • The imagery, voice, symbolism, metaphorical language (and more) stretch brains.
  • Poems inspire creativity.
  • It’s easy to pull oodles of language arts mini-lessons from poetry.
  • Poetry doesn’t (have to) take much time out of the homeschool day.

How do you use poetry in your homeschool?  I’d love to hear!

Other Favorite Poetry Books

In case you don’t have access to the Childcraft Poems and Rhymes book, here are some other perfectly wonderful collections of poetry!

The Random House Book of Poetry for ChildrenA Child's Garden of VersesThe 20th Century Children's Poetry TreasuryA Child's Book of PoemsWhere the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and DrawingsPoetry for Young People: Robert FrostPoetry for Young People: William Butler YeatsPoetry for Young People: Emily DickinsonPoetry for Young People: Walt Whitman


If you need more ideas for poetry study, I’ve pinned some great ideas on my Poetry Pinterest Board!

Poetry study and poetry recitation made easy!



  1. Do you spend time reviewing previously memorized poems?

  2. Occasionally, Amy. It’s not something I spend too much time planning, though. A week here or there I’ll “quiz” him to see what he can remember from previous poems – almost like a game.

  3. Krissanna says:

    Awww! Poems and Rhymes was my favorite of all the childcraft books. Wish I had those for my own children.

  4. The best thing of all is when a child loves a poem just because. 🙂

  5. Love this list! Thank you for taking the time!

  6. You’re welcome, Dia! I’m glad it’s been helpful to you.

  7. This is great. My wife and I have talked about including poetry into my daughters homeschooling. My daughter is five now, but she already enjoys listening to Haiku. I am sure she will enjoy other forms of poetry too. I like how you lay out the week with a recital at the end. Thank You!

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