When I was at the Dodge Poetry Festival last week, there was a lot of talk among poets on how to encourage more readers to enjoy poetry. The overwhelming consensus was to start teaching poetry at an early age.
So a friend of mind recommended Poetry Speaks to Children (Elise Paschen, ed.), which is a book and CD with 60+ poems read by, in most cases, the poets themselves. With vivid drawings and a diverse selection of poems, Poetry Speaks to Children is aimed at readers 6 years or older. Ella, my 5-year-old, loves it. The book has opened up conversations on rhyming, and we've started making up our own poems.
Taking about poetry has been a nice way for me to supplement what my kids are learning in school, and I enjoy listening to classics while discovering new ones. Current favorites of Ella's include "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost, and "The Tiger Who Wore White Gloves, or, What You Are You Are" by Gwendolyn Brooks, both read by the authors. My kids are reading and listening to poems for pleasure. They're responding to the rhythms and sounds of verse without trying to beat the meaning out of it.
The book was published in 2005 but the poems in it are timeless. I highly recommend picking up Poetry Speaks to Children for your collection.
(Ooh! I just discovered Hip-Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat, which I have placed on order with Amazon.)