How often do you incorporate poetry reading and writing into your lesson plans? Children love rhymes and poetry, but prose is often more prominent in many classrooms. Incorporating poetry into your lesson plans and classroom will give children the chance to explore rhythm and other elements of poetry while helping them develop language skills. Dr. Debbie Linville, an educator with over 30 years of experience, suggests the following tips for making poetry more accessible in your classroom:
- Assess your classroom library. Make note of the type and number of poetry books available to children. Is there a lack of poetry options in your classroom library? Are there different types and formats of poetry available?
- Research children's poets and decide which titles you want to add to your library. Once you know what poetry offerings you do have, you can research different children's poets and their work to determine which titles you want to add to your collection. The Children's Poet Laureate Recommendations and NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry are good places to start.
- Find online resources you can use to make poetry more accessible. In addition to adding poetry titles to your classroom library, you can also utilize online poetry resources to make poetry more accessible for children. For example, you can choose to sign up for a Poem-a-Day, listen to children's poets read their work on The Children's Poetry Archive, or watch and listen to Poetry Foundation Videos.
- Be purposeful when choosing poems to share with children. Choose poems that enhance and extend the curriculum, reinforce reading and writing skills, encourage community and understanding, and discuss topics that children can relate to and understand.
- Give children opportunities to write their own poems. Introduce children to different styles of poems, such as the concrete poem, the list poem, and the acrostic poem, and have them write their own. Be sure to include poetry-related prompts in the daily or weekly writing prompts you give children. Give children opportunities to share their work by hanging children's poems on your classroom walls or having a monthly poetry reading in your class.