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Poetry in the Classroom

I use poetry journals in my classroom, which are small three ring binders. You can easily substitute these with folders that have three holes in them. Just insert brads into the holes and punch holes in all poetry for insertion.

When I introduce a new poem, generally I read it aloud the first day. I like to copy the poems onto chart paper for all to see. I have used a lot of poems, and especially love Shel Silverstein's work. The first day (shared) I would read the poem aloud to let them hear the flow of the language. I model some strategies for figuring out an unknown word using the rhyming pattern. During repeated readings we do rhyme roundups, followed by some type of word activity. My class loves to highlight in different colors the words we are focusing on.

For guided reading, I would preview the vocabulary in the poem and introduce words they might have difficulty decoding. I then would build some background or make predictions based on title. Then they go into groups with a purpose and read the poem. Some days they round up rhymes on their own. Other days they work to add a verse to the poem following the pattern, compare/contrast to another poem, etc. During the final share portion of this block, we read the poem again using some time type of oral reading activity. Be creative here, they love it. The poem is then glued into their journal and they illustrate. These poems are brought home for reading to their family. The children love to read and reread these poems, and the journals are a favorite during the SSR block.

Give copy of poem to them to take home and read. They can illustrate and then it goes into the poetry folder when it comes back. Also - you can have them do the rhyme roundup, or do a sight word hunt.

Parent Letter:
The purpose of this letter is to inform parents that you are using poetry, and what they need to do when the folder comes home. I glue this inside the cover of our poetry folders, or if the binder has the plastic, slip it under.

Dear Parents/Guardians:

This is your child's poetry folder. This folder is a vital part of our reading program, in that it contains the poems, songs, and rhymes we have been learning in class. Each week the children will add a new passage to their folder. By the end of the year your child will be able to successfully read this wonderful collection.

Your child will take this folder home once a week for reading pleasure and practice. It would be helpful if a family member could read the passage first, if needed. That way your child can hear the flow of the language, and will be better able to predict unknown words. I will also assign a homework activity for them to complete using that week's poem. After you and your child have enjoyed the folder, and completed the assignment at home, return it to school the next morning. Please be sure that the folder is returned in good condition, and it always needs to be brought to school in a bookbag.

I look forward to working with you on this project. Due to our work together, your child will continue to develop as a lifelong reader. If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact me.


Mrs. L. Kump

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