AmblesideOnline Poetry Schedule By Year

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Year 1

Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson: online at Poetry Lovers, or at Project Gutenberg with illustrations by Jessie Willcox Smith or Myrtle Sheldon. ($amzn)

Now We Are Six ($amzn) (K) and When We Were Very Young ($amzn) (K) by A.A. Milne

Oxford Book of Children's Verse by Iona and Peter Opie ($amzn), or other quality collection that features mostly familiar classic children's poems, or AO's collection of 220 classic children's poems, which are free online or available for purchase ($amzn) (K)
NEW! You can purchase AO's Year 1 Anthology of 220 Classic Poems in paperback or for Kindle ($amzn) (K)

Year 2

Walter de la Mare
Eugene Field and James Whitcomb Riley
Sing Song by Christina Rossetti
NEW! You can purchase the Year 2 collection in paperback or for Kindle ($amzn) (K)

Year 3

William Blake
Sara Teasdale and Hilda Conkling
Helen Hunt Jackson
NEW! You can purchase the Year 3 collection in paperback or for Kindle ($amzn) (K)

Year 4

Alfred Tennyson
Emily Dickinson
William Wordsworth
NEW! You can purchase the Year 4 collection in paperback or for Kindle ($amzn) (K)

Year 5

Rudyard Kipling
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
John Greenleaf Whittier and Paul Laurence Dunbar
NEW! You can purchase the Year 5 collection collection in paperback or for Kindle ($amzn) (K)

Year 6

Robert Frost
Carl Sandburg
Langston Hughes; we suggest The Dream Keeper, his children's anthology ($amzn) (K). His poems online
          OR AO's collection of 63 classic poems
NEW! You can purchase the Year 6 collection in paperback or for Kindle ($amzn) (K)

Year 7

Oxford Book of English Verse or other anthology
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, especially Idylls of the King
John Keats; or here
OR, use for all 3 terms: The Oxford Book of English Verse, edited by Arthur Quiller Couch

Year 8

12 Shakespeare Sonnets and Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves, by Roy Maynard about Spencer's Fairie Queene
John Donne (K) and George Herbert
John Milton
OR, use for all 3 terms: The Oxford Book of English Verse, edited by Arthur Quiller Couch

Year 9

Alexander Pope
William Cowper and Phillis Wheatley
George Gordon, Lord Byron
OR, use for all 3 terms: The Oxford Book of English Verse, edited by Arthur Quiller Couch

Year 10

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning
Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman
OR, use for all 3 terms: The Oxford Book of English Verse, edited by Arthur Quiller Couch

Year 11

A good contemporary anthology such as Norton's
Edna St. Vincent Millay

Year 12

Luci Shaw
Wendell Berry
Wislawa Szymborsk

Canadian Poets

Arthur Bourinot
Isabella Whiteford Rogerson
Archibald Lampman
You can purchase AO's Canadian Companion in paperback or Kindle ($amzn) (K)

Holiday Poems

Classic seasonal poems for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's.

Kindle Tips

To transfer AO's poetry collections to your device's Kindle app for free:
Install Push to Kindle.
Find the address that amazon has assigned for your Kindle (amazon has some helps for finding your address: "To find your Send-to-Kindle e-mail address, visit the Manage your Devices page at Manage Your Kindle.")
Copy the URL link for one of the volumes and send it to your Kindle account via "Push to Kindle" app. Click on the device you wish to send the Kindle document to.
If you are overseas this will usually cost something, so it would be better to copy and paste the entire version to a document and then save it to your kindle docs using a usb cable from your computer to your Kindle. (View 2-min tutorial for using Push to Kindle on YouTube)

Suggested Websites and Books

The best online Poetry Search site
Straightforward and basic help with knowing how to read and understand poetry. Archived link
Dr. Rampey's Guide to Reading Poetry may also be helpful.
Poems to read your baby by Christina Rossetti and other poets, as well as suggested poetry board books for babies
The Original Mother Goose with illustrations
The Benefits of Mother Goose

Audio: Librivox.org has a plethora of poems read by various readers; notable dramatic readers so far: Glen Hallstrom ("Smokestack Jones"), Kristin Hughes, Martin Clifton; David Barnes, and "Chip" are also good.

There's a picture book series called Poetry For Young People that might be useful if you like to have a book for each term (but keep in mind that it's preferable for children to form images in their minds from the words rather than relying on an artist's impression). Books available for AO in Years 1-6:

Year 3 William Blake, edited by John Maynard, illus by Alessandra Cimatoribus ($amzn)
Year 4 Alfred Tennyson, edited by John Maynard, illus by Allen Garns ($amzn)
Year 4 Emily Dickinson, edited by Frances Schoonmaker, illus by Chi Chung ($amzn)
Year 4 William Wordsworth, edited by Alan Liu, illus by James Muir ($amzn)
Year 5 Rudyard Kipling, edited by Eileen Gillooly, illus by Jim Sharpe ($amzn)
Year 5 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, edited by Frances Schoonmaker, illus by Chad Walker ($amzn)
Year 6 Robert Frost, edited by Gary D. Schmidt, illus by Henri Sorensen ($amzn)
Year 6 Carl Sandburg, edited by Frances Schoonmaker Bolin, illus by Steven Arcella ($amzn)

Poetry Anthologies

It's nice to have a good illustrated anthology of children's poems for informal reading. Look for children's anthologies that focus on classics rather than on silly/humorous poems, doggerel and twaddle. Some that we can recommend include:
A Child's Book of Poems by Gyo Fujikawa ($amzn)
The Golden Books Family Treasury of Poetry selected by Louis Untermeyer (out of print, but still widely available) ($amzn)
The Oxford Book of Children's Verse Iona and Peter Opie (currently out of print, and selling at vintage prices)

There are lots and lots of possibilities for family anthologies; these are just a few:
Favorite Poems Old and New by Helen Ferris Tibbets ($amzn)
The Family Book of Verse by Lewis Gannett (out of print, but still widely available and affordable)
The Poets' Corner by John Lithgow (includes an MP3 disk of poems read aloud by various celebrities) ($amzn)
The Classic Hundred Poems by William Harmon ($amzn)

If you prefer free, you can download a text file of AmblesideOnline's Poetry Anthology that includes 208 classic poems for the whole family. Click the link to view, or right-click and choose the "Save Target . . ." to save to your hard drive and format/print to your preferred specifications in your own word processing program. This does not include any of the poems in the Year 1 collection.

The angel paused in his downward flight
With seeds of love and truth and light;
And said, "Oh, where shall this seed be sown,
That it yield most fruit when fully grown?"
The Savior paused and said as He smiled,
"Place it for me in the heart of a child."

Taken from the book Bread From My Oven by Marjorie Parker
(Thanks to Rebecca (Clio1212) for locating the author of this poem!)

Parents Review Articles About Poetry

An Address on the Teaching of Poetry by The Rev. H. C. Beeching

Beeching gave these purposes for teaching poetry:
1. To make us more aware and alert to the beauty of nature around us.
2. The visual imagery they paint in our minds sticks in our memory better than facts; it leaves more of an impression.
3. To enrich our lives and increase our enjoyment of life by sharpening our emotions.
Therefore, poems should be selected that are enjoyable--don't use poetry as a way to sneak in facts to be memorized. (Could this mean that those sing-songs tapes for learning multiplication and state capitals aren't a good idea?) Children's poetry should also be appropriate for their age. They need poems with obvious rhymes. They aren't ready for Milton, but they can enjoy William Blake. But that doesn't mean they should read silly nonsense poems. Poetry needs to teach the rhythym of language, beauty, joy and reverence. Beeching says that ridiculous limericks are 'trifling' and 'profane.' And he says that CM agreed. Mother Goose, Robert Louis Stevenson or Longfellow would be a much better choice. He suggests Lang's Blue Poetry Book.

The Teaching of Poetry to Children by Mrs. J. G. Simpson

Simpson says that poems for children must interest them and appeal to their imaginations. Their lifelong tastes in literature are developed while they're young, and we need to make the most of the window of opportunity to train them to love really good poetry. Don't waste it by reading them moral stories written in bad verse. Adults keep offering children doggerel, but she insists that 'surely in all our rich and varied literature we can find simple little poems, tender and dainty, which will appeal just as much to the little reader.' She offers many suggestions in her article.

Poems from the above article

What is Poetry? by H. A. Nesbitt, M.A.

Nesbitt says that great poetry gives an honest, unaffected picture of the poet's emotions. That's what defines poetry as truth. Nesbitt explains a little about the use of language (metaphor, simile).

More Parents' Review articles about poets:

Tennyson; In Memoriam
Wordsworth; a review of Wordsworth, by Raleigh
Henry Vaughn
John Milton Paradise Lost; Psalm 1
T. E. Brown (a modern George Herbert)
Samuel Coleridge quoted in this article about Nature
Robert Browning: Childe Roland; Whom the Gods Love

Quotes About Poetry

"Again, let children have the pleasure of hearing their parents read to them--not only reading what is on a level with the child's capacity, but anything they like themselves, where a portion of it is within the child's comprehension. I have found that children will ask again and again for poetry which they only partially understood; they enjoy the rhythm, and each time understand more and more of it. In that way the poem has the advantage of being an old friend, yet possessing hidden meanings only gradually unfolded to them." -- Mrs. F. G. Hickson, Parents' Review, Vol 14

"Poetry is the practice of creating artworks using language. Sculptors use marble, steel, cardboard, goose liver pate, whatever material they choose. Musicians use sound. Painters use paint. Furniture-makers use woods and fabrics. And poets use language . . . Poets are interested in exploring experience through the written word. That includes any experience you can have as well as the world of your dreams and fantasies . . . The poet takes all these kind of experiences and the emotions and feelings they bring with them, and makes them into art through the way he uses language. And that - because you use language, too - gives you an instant link to poetry as well." - Poetry for Dummies by The Poetry Center and John Timpane with Maureen Watts

"Few things open the doors of the spirit and the thoughtful mind as poetry does, provided it is of the best and the field covered is wide." The P.N.E.U. method in Sunday Schools by Helen E. Wix, Parents' Review, November 1917

"Poetry is the music of the soul; and above all, of great and feeling souls." - Voltaire

What is poetry? Who knows?
Not the rose, but the scent of the rose;
Not the sky, but the light in the sky;
Not the fly, but the gleam of the fly;
Not the sea, but the sound of the sea;
Not myself, but what makes me
See, hear, and feel something that prose
Cannot: and what it is, who knows?
(by Eleanor Farjeon)

These selected quotes and notes were taken from "Children and Books" by May Hill Arbuthnot:

Good poetry should use words that are exact and descriptive with no forced rhymes, but instead words and lines trip along with the lightness of children jumping rope. Clumsy doggerel - in contrast to the verses of Lear, Richards and Milne - is heavy footed and its words and rhymes have no sparkle. Good poetry gives freshness to ideas - whether common ones or new ones. A good poem should result in laughter, or dreams to ponder, or a sharpened awareness of life. The chief appeal of poetry is to the ear, the emotions and the imagination. A poem should be heard, not read. It may take a few times of hearing a poem to determine whether you like it.

Some poems practically sing and stick in the mind. Lyric poetry - "poems so lovely in sound that they will speak to the inner ear and to the spirit and imagination of the child" - can be enjoyable because of the mere flow of words themselves, even if the child doesn't totally understand the vocabulary. "Children are caught by the charm of words and phrases, and without knowing why, they respond to the mood invoked by the words. In such accidental way, children's taste for lyric poetry may begin." Lyric poetry should be read casually and repeated, and must be read aloud. "Their melodies must be heard if they are to be enjoyed." Examples of lyric poetry: Shakespeare's Under the Greenwood Tree, Coleridge's Kubla Khan, Walter de la Mare's poetry, Blake's Songs of Innocence, Christina Rossetti's Sing Song, Mother Goose.

Children enjoy narrative poems that tell a story like The Pied Piper, The Highwayman, or even Little Miss Muffet. They enjoy occasional descriptive nature poems if they're short, such as those by Sara Teasdale or Hilda Conkling.

What do children like about poetry? They respond to a poem's singing quality, rhyme, rhythm, meter, onomatopoetic (words that imitate sounds), alliteration (repetition of initial consonants), tone color, cadence, all that goes into the melody of the verse, even though they do not know the technical names. Our business is to savor this singing quality, too, and learn how to bring it out in our reading.

Exposure to poetry should begin when children are very small, parents should say it and read it aloud and encourage the child to join in and say it, too. Poems should be read aloud to children all through their first twelve years. By that time, they will have mastered the mechanics of reading for themselves; they will also be steeped in poetry and they will have the habit of saying it so well established that they will go right on reading it and enjoying it by themselves. Children will accept poems read casually and purely for enjoyment more readily than poems that are forced on them as a school exercise. The same poem that may baffle and discourage them when forced on them as a reading assignment will bring delight when read aloud by an adult who understands how to bring out its meaning while making it sing. A child understands it without ever dreaming that it is "hard."

What if the parent is unfamiliar with reading poetry? Mother Goose is a good place to start because of its pronounced rhyme and rhythm, giving a sense of tempo and variety. When reading more subtle poetry, use imagination and a delicate precision of interpretation. To acquire this precision, always read a poem aloud and try first of all to get the general mood or feeling. William Blake's "Laughing Song" carries a gentle gaiety, De La Mare's "Someone" is mysterious and hushed, his "Tired Tim" moons and mopes along laggingly, Eleanor Wylie's "Velvet Shoes" should be read slowly and quietly. Before reading a new poem, read it through silently once, merely to familiarize yourself with the words, mood and content. Then say it aloud several times until you get the feel of it and have the characteristic tempo of that particular poem.

Children should not be pressured to analyze poems, although they may speculate if they wish. Being forced to sit through long, descriptive nature poems that bore them may permanently ruin their ability to enjoy it. They will not likely appreciate poems written to make adults sentimental about childhood ("Little Boy Blue") or wistful poems about lost youth and regret, or poems whose purpose is to moralize them. Children who have become resistant to poetry may enjoy humorous poems such as Edward Lear and AA Milne.

Poetry has the same power of healing that music has. For those who have cultivated a listening ear, poetry has the same therapeutic quality as music. When you and your children have made this discovery, you will appreciate the use of poetry for refreshment, for merriment, for stimulation, and for quiet reassurance.

Parents Review
April, 1901
Notes from the Darrington Branch PNEU

Miss Lucy Harrison addressed the meeting on "The Cultivation of Literary Taste in little children." Among the things Miss Harrison had to say, "Early influences are the strongest and most enduring... Poetry...opens up to the mind the secrets of emotion and passion and stimulates all that is best in us. In giving a child the taste for reading we are introducing him to the greatest thoughts of the greatest men and women. The most enduring taste for poetry is learnt in early years.... there should be good substratum of fairy tales. They should have stories in which heroism and romance rouse and stimulate the imagination."

More Resources For Poetry

Ruth Beechick's You Can Teach Your Child Successfully includes a section on teaching poetry.
Karen Andreola's article on poetry, originally adapted from a 1936 PR article by Monk Gibbon
Charlotte Mason's thoughts on poetry from her volumes

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