poetry readers review
Education,  Morning Time and Memory Work

Cottage Press Poetry Readers Review: gentle, delightful poetry study in the Charlotte Mason and classical tradition

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Are you looking for a simple, open-and-go approach to poetry study in your homeschool? The Poetry Readers from Cottage Press may provide just what you are looking for! Whether you consider yourself a Charlotte Mason homeschooler, a classical educator, or simply a lover of words and beauty, the gentle poetry study you will enjoy using these Poetry Readers in your home is sure to be a delight for all ages.

Cottage Press Poetry Reader review

{This post contains affiliate links. I received complimentary copies of Poetry Readers Vol. 1-3. The review that follows contains my honest opinion. Please see disclaimer.}

What are the Cottage Press Poetry Readers?

The Cottage Press Poetry Readers are designed to provide an entire year of no-fuss poetry study in your homeschool. They follow the advice of Charlotte Mason, who recommended that students focus on one poet at a time, “reading his or her poems over a complete term, or even a complete year, . . . that he may have time to do what is in him towards cultivating the seeing eye, the hearing ear, the generous heart.” 

Cottage Press Poetry Readers

Each volume in the Poetry Readers series focuses on the works of 3 poets plus a few additional excerpts from Shakespeare. Volume 1 includes the poetry of Burns, Tennyson, and Herbert. Volume 2 is filled with the words of Wordsworth, Milton, and Longfellow. Donne, Scott, and Keats comprise the poets of Volume 3.

Each section of the Poetry Reader begins with a biography and introduction to the poet that can be read aloud in its entirety or from which you can pull excerpts for your younger children. There follows a selection of ~11-19 poems written by that poet. You can choose 1 or 2 poems each week to read aloud or recite together several times a day. As Kathy Weitz says in the introduction, “the chief aim is to delight in the poem.”

Rather than laboriously dissecting the rhyme schemes, tropes, and meters of each poem, the goal is simple: read the poems aloud to your children. That’s all that’s really necessary. Doesn’t that take away some of the nervousness one might feel when approaching an unknown poet?!

Alongside the simple habit of reading the poetry aloud together, Kathy includes additional suggestions for poetry study at home. For instance, older students may wish to copy the poem into their commonplace book or add the poet to their Book of Centuries, and even younger students could copy a line or two in their reading journal. Kathy also provides helpful tips for learning to read poetry aloud well.

Volumes 1-3 have already been published. {Volume 1 , Volume 2, Volume 3} The goal, ultimately, is to have a 6-year rotation of poets available.

Poetry Reader Review

What I Love About the Poetry Readers

When I first opened the happy-mail package containing these poetry readers, I was struck by the loveliness of the volumes. Not only do they have a classic appearance, but the texture of the cover is also tactilely pleasing. If we’re going to study lovely words, it is only right that they come in such lovely books.

The philosophy of gentle poetry study also fits perfectly with our family’s approach to memory work. Simply reading and reciting beautiful words together on a regular basis (rather than breaking down each poem into its component parts) does much to foster a love (rather than a dread) of poetry.

Those of us with a wide range of ages in our homeschool know well how hard it can be to find something appropriate for each grade level. Because the poems themselves form the bulk of these readers, they are easily adaptable to a mix of ages. While the read aloud time can happen all together, additional exercises related to the poetry can be customized depending on the needs of each child.

Do you include poetry in your morning time or elsewhere in your homeschool? What is a favorite poem you’ve learned as a family?

free poetry printable
Cottage Press Poetry Readers

Painting source: “Mother and child reading a story” Carlton Alfred Smith


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Amy Sloan and her husband, John, are second-generation homeschoolers by grace alone to 5 children ages 4, 7, 9, 12, and 14. Their educational philosophy is one of humility and doxology, and follows primarily a classical approach. Amy loves coffee, and starts getting nervous if the stack of to-be-read library books beside her bed is less than 2 feet tall. Get her started on Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Homer, or Hamilton the Musical and it might be hard to get her to stop. Mostly, though, she gets really excited about the Gospel. The Sloan family adventures in North Carolina.

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