Celebrate National Poetry Day With Your Children

Image of girl holding pencil and words Poetry
Category: Bookbug

Roses are red,

Violets are blue

A very happy

National Poetry Day

To you!


Today is National Poetry Day: share a simple rhyme, or book of poems with your children and join in the fun!

Simple, traditional rhymes are likely to be among children’s earliest experiences of poetry. These rhymes are not only fun and engaging for children, but they’re also an important part of helping children learn.

Simple, traditional rhymes are likely to be among children’s earliest experiences of poetry

Babies and children find a strong sense of rhythm and rhyme comforting and enjoyable. The human brain is wired to prefer rhyming sounds and information presented in rhyme is much easier for us to remember! Think of all the short rhyming verses we use to remember trivial information.

For children, sounds presented in songs and rhymes are more salient than sounds in normal speech. This means that we hear the sounds better. Words are made of phonemes. A phoneme is an individual sound – not a letter. So the word cat has three phonemes /c/ /a/ t/ but the word mouse is also made up of three sounds /m/ /ou/ /se/. Children with lots of exposure to nursery rhymes would be better able to detect that cat rhymes with mat and research shows that children’s ability to identify rhyming words is a later predictor of reading ability.

Rhymes and poems are also very comforting to children. Children respond best to strong rhythm and steady beat – both aspects of rhymes. Steady beat and strong rhythm are important to children because it reminds them of the sound of the heartbeat they heard before they were born. Bouncing a child on your knee while saying a rhyme helps them detect the beat – not to mention it adds to the fun!

babies on mum's knee

Many rhymes inspire movement and include simple actions. These actions not only give rhymes more meaning as children learn the meaning of the words, but they’re also great for helping children develop spatial awareness and fine and gross motor skills. 

A book of rhymes is a great way to engage children with poetry and it’s a great addition to any family’s bookshelves. And a short book of poems is also a great way to mix up the bedtime story routine. 

Not sure where to start? Here’s a list of some of our favourite poetry books:

But remember that poetry and rhyme can be found in all kinds of children's books. Why not check out Hairy Maclary by Lynley Dood, The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson, The House that Zac Built by Alison Murray, Macavity:The Mystery Cat by T.S.Eliot and Arthur Robins, Kitchen Disco by Clare Foges and Al Murphy and The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss. They all have a strong element of rhyme that little ones will love. 

The Scottish Poetry Library runs monthly Poetry for Peanuts sessions if you would like to explore the world of poetry even further with your little ones.