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Poetry Read Alouds and Collections for the 2nd Grade Classroom

Fluency, Literacy, Poetry

Written by: Mary Kate Bolinder

April is National Poetry Month. To celebrate, we rounded up some of our favorite poetry picture books, poet biographies, and poetry collections to share with young readers. Keep reading to find out how you can incorporate the joy of poetry into your 2nd grade classroom every day!

Picture Books About Poetry

These picture books about poetry explore the wonder and rhythm of poetry in everyday life. Poetry can be playful, poignant, and powerful. These books make a great introduction when teaching poetry to second grade, or starting a class poetry unit.

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by Andrew Clements, illustrated by Tim Bowers

Story of a dog
Told through the art of haiku
Makes me say “Bow WOW.”

Kiyoshi’s Walk

by Mark Karlins, illustrated by Nicole Wong

“Where do poems come from?” Follow along with Kiyoshi and his grandfather as they discover the rhythm and poetry of their neighborhood.

Daniel Finds a Poem

written and illustrated by Micha Archer

Daniel has never heard of “poetry.” To learn more about it, he walks through the park, asking each animal he passes, “What is poetry?” Through his friends, Daniel learns that poetry is all around us – in the glistening morning dew, in the sun-warmed sand, in the bright stars. Daniel discovers that there is poetry inside him, too, just waiting to be shared with the world.

Change Sings

by Amanda Gorman, illustrated by Loren Long

Students will follow along with the words of Amanda Gorman, the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate. In Change Sings, Gorman pens a children’s anthem that inspires the youngest of readers to use their voice to make a change in their community and the world.

Picture Books About Poets

This list of picture book biographies features poets from around the world. One thing most of these poets have in common? They were all fascinated with words at a young age. Inspire the next generation of poets with these picture book biographies.

A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams

by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Jump Back Paul: The Life and Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar

by Sally Derby, illustrated by Sean Qualls

Rise! From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou

by Bethany Hegedus, illustrated by Tonya Engel

On Wings of Words: The Extraordinary Life of Emily Dickinson

by Jennifer Berne, illustrated by Becca Stadtlander

Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks

by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera

Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets

Poetry Collections

Have a few minutes to spare in your day? Read a poem. Want to incorporate ELA skills in a science or social studies lesson? Read a poem. Want to improve student reading fluency, expose them to patterns of language, and help them identify phonics patterns? You guessed it – Read. A. Poem! There are so many benefits to using poetry in the 2nd-grade classroom. Check out our own collection of phonics-based poems and daily activities to use in the classroom. Then, give these poetry collections a whirl. The time is always right for a poem!

Download Some More Poems!

toothy task kits

Phonics Based Poems

A World Full of Poems

This poetry anthology features new and classic poems that readers of all ages are sure to enjoy.

Fresh-Picked Poetry

by Michelle Schaub, illustrated by Amy Huntington

Take a bite out of poetry with this collection of poems based on the sights, sounds, and smells of the farmer’s market.

Common Critters: The Wildlife in Your Neighborhood

by Pat Brisson, illustrated by Dan Tavis

Playful poems about commonly found animals – slugs, spiders, squirrels, and more – fill the pages of this poetry collection. Featuring informational backmatter about poetry forms, this book is sure to delight curious, animal-loving students and teachers alike.

Science Verse

by John Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith

Complex science phenomena explained in simple, playful, poetry? Sign us up! Students will giggle along with Science Verse, and just may learn a new thing or two about the world!

Thunder Underground

by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Josee Masse

Celebrated children’s author and poet Jane Yolen takes young readers on an unforgettable adventure underground with this collection of poems. There is a whole word to explore, just beneath your feet!

Keep a Poem in Your Pocket

This book features a collection of classic poems by notable authors, followed by a “playful parody” by J. Patrick Lewis, former Children’s Poet Laureate. Poems short enough to memorize, students can carry these “poems in their pocket” and know them by heart.


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