Children who are learning English as a second, third, or additional language enjoy the simplicity and clarity of poetry when examples are chosen with them in mind. Ideally, poems should have a clear focus and accessible vocabulary. If you can also find poetry that represents the cultures of the children, that adds a connection of relevancy, too. Humorous poetry, on the other hand, is not necessarily the best choice as it requires culturally specific knowledge that may not yet be familiar. Here are selected books based on “Matching Books and Readers: Selecting Literature for English Learners” by Nancy Hadaway, Terrell Young and me.
The list begins:
Bryan, Ashley. 1997. Ashley Bryan's ABC of African American Poetry. New York: Atheneum.
Cheng, Andrea. 2008. Where the Steps Were. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills/Wordsong.
Cooling, Wendy. 2004. Come to the Great World; Poems from Around the Globe. New York: Holiday House.
Crews, Nina. 2004. The Neighborhood Mother Goose. New York: Greenwillow.
Ehlert, Lois. 2010. Lots of Spots. Beach Lane Books.
For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
And if you already have the book and would like to offer additions, corrections, or other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!