Tuesday, June 9, 2009


The key to teaching reading is to motivate and inspire the children to practice. The use of rhyming poetry, songs or stories is an excellent way to engage the children in learning. Kids love to hear and memorize poems. It's a fun and very natural form of expression. Poetry is excellent for choral readings because of its rhythm.


1. Pick a variety of poetry. Demonstrate to the children that poetry can be sad, funny, silly, dreamlike, or mad.

2. Pick poems that go with the theme you're currently working on.

3. When you introduce a poem, read it with enthusiam and drama. Humorous poems usually grab their attention. You can hook a child to poetry for life if they catch your love of poetry.

4. Now pass out a copy of the poem so that students can follow along as you read it again.

5. Define any new words that are important to the meaning of the poem.

6. Read the poem chorally as a class.

7. If there are different characters in the poem, assign each one to a student to act out. Sometimes there's a part the class can say all together.

8. Start with short poems for memorization then go with longer ones.

9. Teach young children about rhythmic patterns by having them clap hands and stomp feet along with the poem.

10. Use the old familiar poems for word skills.


1. Say a word from the poem and ask the children to find synonyms or antonyms.

2. Pull some words from the poem and put them in alphabetical order.

3. Use words in the poem for word sorts. For example, label three cups people nouns, place nouns, and thing nouns. Then sort all the nouns into the proper cup. Sort by nouns, adjectives and verbs. Or sort by beginning or ending sounds. Sort by word families. Sort contrations and possessives.

4. Find and copy sight words from the poems.

5. Find word families in poems.

6. Use word families or rhyming words to write a class poem. It might be fun to do a class illustration on giant newsprint paper for a bulletin board.

7. Use word families to create student poems. They enjoy drawing illustrations for their poems.

8. Create poems in small groups about certain feelings. (sad, happy, angry, peaceful) These poems usually are great for dramatization. Kids might find out that other kids feel like they do sometimes.


1. Use classic children's authors like Robert Louis Stevenson.

2. Jack Prelutsky, named the nation's first Children's Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation, is the author of more than 40 books of verse and editor of several poetry anthologies.

3. Dr. Seuss demonstrates that made-up words can be poetry too.


Sight Word Poetry Pages: 100 Fill-in-the-Blank Practice Pages That Help Kids Really Learn the Top High-Frequency Words by Rozanne Williams.

Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young by Jack Prelutsky.

Wham! Its a Poetry Jam: Discovering Performance Poetry
by Sara Holbrook. (Each poem is paired with explanations on how best to perform the poem out loud, alone or with a group.)

Bird Watch: A Book of Poetry by Jane Yolen (Several of her books pair poems with photography.)

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