Children's Poetry -100 Essential Poems for Junior and Middle Grade Students to Learn
Essential Children's Poems for Your Students to Study
Good children's poetry can change lives for the better. It can help with literacy, life and learning. Here are 100 quality poems selected for use in the classroom, for analysis or exams. Subjects range from relationships to animals, from conflict to the environment.
Many of the poems are suitable for children too, over the age of eight years, but the majority are aimed at students aged 11 -17.
I've included more complex poems which can be learnt and enjoyed for their word patterns and meanings. A poem can be a catalyst for discussion and debate and close analysis of a poem is something that can bring huge rewards.You can discover how to make a full analysis of a poem here.
Learning a poem by heart is also a useful skill to master and can stay with your student right itno adulthood.
Here are 100 of the best poems for your students to enjoy.
These poems are suitable for children aged from 11 - 17, that is, from junior through to middle and junior high.
1-8 Poems for Younger Children
If I Were in Charge of the World by Judith Viorst is a poem about control, unlike The Aliens Have Landed by Ken Nesbitt which is all about not being in control. Meanwhile Be Glad Your Nose Is On Your Face by Jack Prelutsky speaks for itself whilst Changing Everything by Jane Hirshfield takes things to extremes.
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein is witty and charming but Please Mrs Butler by Allan Ahlberg is mildly alarming. Little Orphant Annie by James Whitcomb Riley will make you laugh a little unlike The Quarrel by Maxine Kumin which might make you think before you act.
Nonsense and Mystery
Here is a selection of some of the best nonsense you are likely to come across. Plus there is the added mystery of Poe and the unorthodox form of Mr Cummings. And who can resist a giant pizza?
12. On the Ning Nang Nong Spike Milligan
13. Jabberwocky Lewis Carroll
14. There Was An Old Man With A Beard Edward Lear
15. Fable by Joan Aiken
16. anyone lived in a pretty how town e.e.cummings
17. Wynken,Blynken and Nod by Eugene Field
18. Backward Bill by Shel Silverstein
19. A Pizza the Size of the Sun by Jack Prelutsky
20. A Dream within a Dream by Edgar Allan Poe
All the animals you could wish for and more. There is Blake's well known Tyger, with fearful symmetry, and Lawrence's kangeroo, awkward and wondrous. The windhover is a falcon, beautifully and uniquely captured by Hopkins.
21. Macavity the Mystery Cat by T.S.Eliot
22. The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear
23. Something Told the Wild Geese by Rachel Field
24. The Tyger by William Blake
25. The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
26. The Eagle by Alfred Lord Tennyson
27. The Duck by Ogden Nash
28. Bee! I'm Expecting You! by Emily Dickinson
29. Eletelephony by Laura Richards
30. The Magpies by Denis Glover
31. The Fish by Elizabeth Bishop
32. That Sure is My Little Dog by Eleanor Lehman
33. Mooses by Ted Hughes
34. The Death of a Toad Richard Wilbur
35. The Bat by Theodore Roethke
36. The Windhover by Gerard Manley Hopkins
37. Ode to the Hummingbird by Pablo Neruda
38. Kangaroo by D.H.Lawrence
39. Thirteen Ways of Looking At A Blackbird by Wallace Stevens
Poems about Life
Middle Grade and Higher
Poems for more mature students. These poems certainly have a message but they are also technically more of a challenge.
48. Mirror by Sylvia Plath
49. I Am Waiting by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
50. Let Evening Come by Jane Kenyon
51. Fundamentalism by Naomi Shihab Nye
52. Snow by David Berman
53. Deer Hit by Jon Loomis
54. Abandoned Farmhouse by Ted Kooser
55. Speak Up by Janet S. Wong
56. Seeing the World by Steven Herrick
57. Junkyards by Julian Lee Rayford
58. At the Bomb Testing Site by William Stafford
Poems to make you Think
Poems that are about decisions, poems that deal with childbirth and relationships.
59. The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
60. To My Dear and Loving Husband by Anne Bradstreet
61. If by Rudyard Kipling
62. Dreams by Langston Hughes
63. A Journey by Nikki Giovanni
64. Alone by Maya Angelou
65. With Child by Genevieve Taggard
Conflict and War
Poems about humanity and domestic affairs. Poems that puzzle and praise the everyday.
72. When Daddy Fell Into the Pond by Alfred Noyes
73. I'm Nobody! Who Are You? by Emily Dickinson
74. Another Reason Why I don't Keep a Gun in the House by Billy Collins
75. maggy and milly and molly and may by e.e.cummings
76. How I Learned to Sweep by Julia Alvarez
77. Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost
78. Gathering Leaves by Robert Frost
79. Mine by Lilian Moore
80. One Art by Elizabeth Bishop
81. Mother to Son by Langston Hughes
82. We Real Cool by Gwendolyn Brooks
83. Still I Rise by Maya Angelou
84. O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman
85. Mother Doesn't Want a Dog by Judith Viorst
86. This is Just to Say by William Carlos Williams
87. Those Winter Sundays by Robert Hayden
88. Saint Animal by Chase Twichell
Poems about animals, forests and plants and more. Some wonderful verses to get your teeth into.
94. Rainforest by Judith Wright
95. The Trees by Philip Larkin
96. Fire and Ice by Robert Frost
97. Acquainted with the Night by Robert Frost
98. Flowers By the Sea by William Carlos Williams
99. The Force that through the Green Fuse by Dylan Thomas
100. Morning Poem by Mary Oliver
© 2015 Andrew Spacey