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National Poetry Month: Reading Poetry

“What the poem is about and how it explores that material is more important than the technical means it uses. Yet by focusing on those means, we can perhaps get closer to finding out why we felt what we felt. That process can deepen our reading, enhance it, complicate it.”

This quote from Accent on Meter: A Handbook for Readers of Poetry provides a great rationale for reading poetry. The following resources from ReadWriteThink.org provide opportunities for students to read and appreciate poetry.

Looking for poetry suggestions? Listen to the Grades K – 5 Podcast Episode “Playful Poetry Books to Share“. In this episode, host Emily Manning and guest Sylvia Vardell explore fun ways to read poetry with children. Older students can tune in to “Celebrating Poetry for Teens“. In honor of National Poetry Month in April, host Jennifer Buehler shares her recommendations of a variety of poetry books for teens.

Use the lesson plan “Poetry Portfolios: Using Poetry to Teach Reading” to teach your students about sentence structure, rhyming words, sight words, vocabulary, and print concepts using a weekly poem.

Students read various poems and explore why lines are broken where they are and how they affect rhythm, sound, meaning, and appearance in poetry in “What Makes Poetry? Exploring Line Breaks“.

Explore reading strategies using Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” and other works. In this lesson plan, students read Poe’s works in both large- and small-group readings then conclude with a variety of projects.

Developing Aesthetic Criteria: Using Music to Move Beyond Like/Dislike with Poetry” assists students in developing the cognitive tool of criteria development for discussing the aesthetics of poetry and music.

Ease students’ fear of interpreting complex poetry by teaching them a strategy with which they determine patterns of imagery, diction, and figurative language in order to unlock meaning with the lesson plan “Thinking Inductively: A Close Reading of Seamus Heaney’s ‘Blackberry Picking’“.

How do you engage students in reading poetry?

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About Lisa Fink

Lisa Storm Fink is the Project Manager for ReadWriteThink at NCTE. After teaching grades K-4 for almost 9 years, she brought her varied experiences (multi-age classrooms, looping, cooperating teacher for preservice teachers, plus a specialization in Remedial Reading) fulltime to the ReadWriteThink site. Lisa feels lucky to have worked on all parts of the ReadWriteThink site as a writer and reviewer, curriculum developer, and now as Project Manager. She enjoys sharing the site with others during professional development opportunities as well as with her preservice students at the University of Illinois.

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