Poetry is a great resource for learning a second language because the cadence, rhyme, rhythm, and patterns of a language are often reflected in poetic offerings. Having children chant rhymes and songs in the target language provides opportunities for weaving sounds throughout the mouth, practicing words, playing with the rhymes, and becoming comfortable with the strangeness of the new language.
Here are a few suggestions to help students get started:
Practice listening to poems in the target language
Practice reading along out loud with the poems
Practice reading out loud on your own
When you are feeling a bit more comfortable, read with others with a audio book accompaniment.
When your comfort level improves after that, read into your iPod and listen to yourself, read to a friend (a dog also counts at this level) or read to a child helping them and you.
Above all, have fun, enjoy, and be "playful" with the language. The beauty of poetry is that it is never wrong, it is always right. Let the poetic sounds begin.