First Grade Storytime: National Poetry Month

Although I went to my regular first grade outreach the week before both Fiesta AND Easter, I went with a more obscure theme: National Poetry Month! Poetry is actually a fairly big part of the first grade curriculum, plus it’s super fun to talk about! Here’s what I chose to highlight.


Bill Martin Jr. Big Book of Poetry edited by Bill Martin Jr

This is a super awesome anthology! Not only does it have tons of poems in it, the illustrations are all by different picture book illustrators. No, I didn’t read them an entire 200 page long book of poems. I did take the opportunity to talk about what an anthology is, and then we talked about how poetry can be about serious stuff OR silly stuff. I read Normon Norton’s Nostrils by Colin West, which is about a kid who can suck up anything in his nose. They thought it was funny and gross, and were giggling like crazy that the word “booger” was in a poem.

All the World

All The World by Liz Garton Scanlon and Marla Frazen

I’ve talked before about how much I love this book. As I was reading it, I would pause every now and then and we would talk about Liz Garton Scanlon used contrast to create poetic differences. We also talked a little about how All The World is a picture book, but if you just wrote out the words, it would be poem.

Young Pegasus Poetry Competition by various authors

Every year, the San Antonio Public Library runs a poetry competition for children and teens. Anyone under age 18 can submit as many poems as they want about anything they want, and panel of judges picks many of them to be published in an anthology. It’s pretty awesome, and we’re always trying to drum up more entries from younger kids. So I grabbed one of our anthologies from the collection (the 86th!) and picked a couple of poems that were written by elementary school students to read outloud. I think it really blows kids minds that they could already be published in a book!

If Not for the Cat by Jack Prelutsky and Ted Rand

This is a collection of haikus – each page describes a different animal. The illustrations and poems are both gorgeous! To make it a little more interactive, I would read the poem to the kids, and then let them guess what animal it was about before I showed them the picture. Some of them are super hard! We also talked a little about the words the author chose to describe different animals. I’d ask the kids to tell me other words they would use to describe the same animals. It was super fun.

Rum Pum Pum

I always think that Rum Pum Pum is going to be too silly for them to want to continue, but nope. They ask about it as soon as I get there! We did it super fast and then super slow. It’s kind of awesome to do it with older kids – they move a lot more than toddlers!

This was a super fun story time. I definitely got to work in a lot of different vocabulary and concepts, but I think that the silliness of some of the poems kept it from being too “teachery” on my part. I LOVE going to see the first graders, because they are always so pumped about me visiting! When I leave and tell them I have to go back to work, they always ask me to stay. I wish I could! It would be awesome to be a first grader!


4 thoughts on “First Grade Storytime: National Poetry Month

  1. Just one point o fclarification — poets who enter the Young Pegasus Poetry Competition must live or go to school in Bexar County. We do sometimes receive entries from kids outside the county — and even outside the state of Texas — but the judges do not consider these entries.

    Still — I am SO glad that you shared some of the YP poems during your class visit — and I am very proud of the San Antonio Public Library’s sponsorship of the contest and publication of the anthology.

  2. Ack, yes, thanks for the clarification, Viki! I’m just hopeful everyone will see how awesome San Antonio is and move here. If you aren’t already here enjoying breakfast tacos, though, you can’t enter Young Pegasus!

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