Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Teacher Tips: The Importance of Poetry to Improve Reading

I love poetry and those who follow me know how much I love writing poetry, chants, and plays. It is so easy to incorporate into your classroom reading activities at any grade level and it is a great way to get 100% participation. Over the years of teaching, what I loved about using poetry is that whether your students are good readers, struggling readers, ESL students, and even non-readers everyone can participate.

This past year my grand daughter's pre-kindergarten teacher was doing a thematic unit on apples. I mentioned that I had some Apple Poems and I shared them with her. She loved them and more importantly so did her class. It was so fun to hear Ella recite my poem. I never thought about pre-kinders being able to enjoy them. Here's a sample of one of them.
There are many other benefits of using poetry and plays in your classroom. There are so many ways to use poems for teaching the 5 components of a balance literacy program. When students read aloud they develop expression, phrasing, and most of all fluency. Teachers should always model reading poems first so that students hear the rhythm and expression. 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. You can Choral read poems by having the whole class read with you. Poems can be added to your literacy centers for repeated readings. Repeated reading help build fluency.

This was another of my Apple Poems. Think of all the possibilities of ELA activities you can teach with this poem. Look at all the questions and verbs in this poem. For many students verbs like peel, and core many be words they don't know. How about bringing in apples and show the students how to peel, core, and slice an apple. Of course they get to eat them too. After learning the poem, students can then add the actions to it. You can read more about these Apple Poems and download some freebies by clicking on the poem below.
Yesterday I was thinking about writing some alphabet poems and I wrote this Letter A Poem, "Ant and Alligator." This would be great for teaching the sounds of letter "a", rhyming words, the vocabulary word, "slipped", and even comprehension. 
There are some wonderful poetry books like the 2 below that I used all the time in my classroom. You can find out more about them by clicking on each picture below.
Last week I decided to bundle up all my poetry units. There are 9 Thematic Poetry Units all together. There are 3 for the Fall months, 3 for the Winter months, and 3 for the Spring months of the year. You can check out this bundle and read all about each poetry unit by clicking on the image below.
Here's a free Poetry Packet to start off your new school year. It's part of my September Poems, Chants, and Activities Unit called "Where's the Teacher?" There are 2 differentiated Punctuation activities for Grades 1 and 2-3. 
You can download your free packet by clicking on the image below.
Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students. Hope you have a great start to the new school year. 

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  1. As an ESL teacher, I absolutely love your apple chant! It had such good vocabulary in it! Thank you for the freebie!!

  2. Thank you for sharing your delightful poems, Arlene! I am totally in agreement with you about the value of using poetry. The children love it, and there is so much learning to be had in just about any poem you can name!
    Linda at Primary Inspiration

  3. Thanks so much for sharing, Arlene. I am always looking for new poetry resources. I find that poetry is such a good springboard for reluctant writers and there are so many great activities to do with them.
    Always Primary