A long time ago, when I was a little boy, years before I went to school, my mother read to me. I loved listening to fairy tales like Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and Hansel and Gretel, I loved books like The Little Engine that Could, but most of all, I loved poems. There was something special about rhyme and meter that sunk in and became part of me. I have no doubt that my lifelong love of literature grew out of those early precious moments with my mother.
Still, my mother only knew a few poems by heart and, except for a Mother Goose collection and Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, we had no books that contained more than one or two poems. Also, we didn’t have a car, and the library was a very long walk away, so we were seldom able to go there. I sometimes wished that my family owned a giant book of poems written especially for me.
That’s what I tried to do by creating Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young–put together an anthology of delightful poems for children from ages six months or so, to six years or so. Although it includes many old favorites, I also combed through hundreds and hundreds of books to find lesser known, delightful little gems. The poems are on themes that very young children can relate to, such as nature, bedtime, animals, weather, food, the world of make-believe, and of course, children’s own thoughts and feelings. Many of the poems mimic the experiences children have as they discover the world around them.
The tips that follow are designed to help you share these poems with even the youngest child. These are the early building blocks to a lifetime of reading and special memories that your child will remember forever!