Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bright Ideas Blog Hop: Using Poetry to Engage All Your Struggling Readers and ESL Students

So excited to be part of our 2nd Bright Ideas blog hop. Spring will be here in a few weeks and it's a wonderful time to get your students up and moving with poems and plays. Whether you live in a big city or small town you will have ESL students and those struggling readers who are afraid to take risks for fear that other students will make fun of them. I found that with poems, chants, and plays those students participate and feel part of the class because it is risk-free. I have always loved writing poems, chants, and plays for my students and watch them smile and laugh. It helps them feel like they belong, which all students and most adults want to feel too.

There are many other benefits of using poetry and plays in your classroom. Look at the poem below. There are so many ways to use this for teaching the 5 components of a balance literacy program. When students read aloud they develop expression, phrasing, and most of all fluency. Have you ever tried Echo reading? This a great way to get all your students to participate. First you read a line or stanza and then they read it. You can start by having students echo a line and then a stanza. Repeated reading helps develop fluency.
Next talk about the meaning of the poem and unfamiliar words. Many of the unfamiliar words can be acted out such as blooming and waddling. The poem is all about the signs of spring and a great way to integrate science. Take each stanza and compare and contrast each with what happens in winter to what is happening in the poem.

The next day I would review what we learned about the signs of spring and do Choral Reading. First I do it as a whole class activity and then I assign groups a stanza to practice. Try to put your struggling readers and ESL students with on grade level readers. After students have had time to practice we perform the poem.

There are also so many ways to incorporate phonics lessons or word work lessons with poems. Just think of the possibilities with this poem: Long A words, Long E words, Long O words, Compound words, ou and ow words, verb finds........ How would incorporate phonics and word work activities with this poem?

I always like to incorporate writing with my poetry lessons. Here's one idea that I have used for my ESL and Struggling readers. I have them copy one of the stanzas and have them draw a picture of what is happening in that stanza. It's a great way to assess their comprehension. For your on grade level students they can write an opinion piece about what they like most about spring or an informative text about Spring.

Hope you found some bright ideas for using poetry with your students.

Next up on the blog hunt is Tina over at Tina's Teaching Treasures. She has a post about Managing Student Work. Just click on the button below to check out her Bright Idea. You can also search for a specific topic in the links below.


  1. Great ideas! Kids love poetry, and it's worth repeating... which leads to fluency! Thanks for the bright idea!

    Sally from Elementary Matters

  2. I hopped over from the Bright Idea Blog Hop! This is terrific, children learn so much more when they are enjoying it!
    Your friend,
    Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas!
    Fern Smith's Pinterest Boards!

  3. What wonderful ideas, Arlene! I agree, poetry has so many possibilities! Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. Great post Mama A! I love using poetry with the kids. Sometimes while I'm waiting for kids to get in line, I start reciting a class poem and the kids in line recite with me!

    Journey of a Substitute Teacher

  5. Great post! Your ideas are great for ELL and other students! I think many educators often forget that the strategies that work so well for ELL are just best practice for any student. Thanks for the reminder! Pinning this now!

  6. Love this post! Kids love poetry...and these strategies are so helpful! Thanks for sharing! :)

    Teaching in High Heels

  7. I absolutely LOVE teaching with poems and songs. I think they are a very important aspect of my teaching. Thank you for this post, Arlene! You always have such high quality poems in your units!

  8. I really love to use poetry and songs with my kids. It's the way I remember, so why wouldn't they remember? And I love the layout & colors of your blog! Very easy to look at. Thank you for the tip!

  9. Poetry ROCKS!!! And so does your post, Arlene!!!!
    :) Lisa
    Growing Firsties

  10. Having students rewrite the rules in their own words is a great idea that I had never thought of. I will definitely give it a try!

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  11. Thanks for sharing information it is very useful for study

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