Friday, March 9, 2012

Poetry without Pain

For a lot of people, poetry lessons are something like a trip to the dentist. You know it's good for you, but you try to avoid it, anyway.

Let me introduce you to a a a few ideas to make poetry teaching enjoyable!

1. Buy or borrow a few good, fun poetry books. Make poetry read alouds a regular part of your LA program. Maybe every Friday. Just for enjoyment's sake.

Some books I've enjoyed over the years:

All the Small Poems by Valerie Worth. And these ARE small poems. As you read them to your children,  leave out the title and read the poems like riddles. My children loved to guess what the poem was about, and it sometimes inspired them to write their own 'riddle poem'. What a great way to practice using descriptive words.

You Come Too by Robert Frost - a small book of favorite poems printed by Scholastic. Have your children memorize one of these.

Joyful Noise-Poems For Two Voices  by Paul Fleischman - a great book of poems all about bugs and beetles. And they are written in a way to be orally read by two voices. Another great presentation idea,as well! Have your children practice reading with expression for their own family or for a community event.

The Harp and Laurel Wreath  by Laura M. Berquist - Poetry and Dictation for the Classical Curriculum. This book is set up with a wide variety of poems, beginning with poems for young children and moving on to more advanced poetry. It includes dictation selections and comprehension questions. Most of all, it's a book full of great poems!

In the past, Scholastic has published a great series of colorfully illustrated books called Poetry for Young People. Each book in the series focused on a certain poet and highlighted and explained his/her life and poems. Great books to read with your students K-9! Poets include: Emily Dickinson, Robert Browning, Lewis Carroll, William Shakespeare, Walt Whitman.

2. Look for a few fun websites. Here's one chalk full of great activities!!

3. Stay away from boring textbooks that teach boring poetry lessons.

4. Make poetry useful. Make cards and send them to Grandma or a friend,or even a special neighbour.

5. Be personally excited about poetry. Read with expression and find funny poems and laugh together. Exaggerate your readings and your children will learn to do the same.

6. Keep a poetry notebook or binder and add to it year after year. Use it for copywork, for poetry writing, and a place to keep favorite poems. Have your children start their own poetry collection.

7. Remember that poetry writing isn't always easy. It's more important to enjoy and understand poems than it is to write them.

If you have some great recommendations for reading or writing poetry, I'd love to hear about it!

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