WHY? fluency, confidence, expression
WHAT? language experience charts of favorite poems, overhead transparency, PowerPoints, pocket charts, big books, individual books, etc.
HOW? Rereads of familiar texts enhance children’s fluency in reading. Sustain their interest with some of these techniques:
Opera – Stretch out words as you sing them.
Hint! Have children sing poems, and then have them “read” the words to
Rap – Clap, snap, or get a beat as you read.
Mouse – Use a whisper voice.
Monster – Read with a loud, gruff voice.
Underwater – Vibrate index finger in between your lips.
With a Cold – Hold your nose.
Three Bears – Read it like papa bear with a deep voice, then like mama bear with a prissy voice, and finally baby bear with a squeaky voice.
With Emotions - Read happy, sad, scared, angry, etc. Have children select the “voice” that fits a poem best.
Cartoon Characters – Have children suggest different cartoon characters and read like them.
MORE? State changes “wake up” the brain. Use some of these strategies to create more interest when you read poems:
Like a Boss- Push back your chair, put your feet on your desk, and fold your arms.
Cowboy – Turn chair around and straddle it like a horse.
Backwards – Post poems on the back wall of the classroom so children turn “backwards” and read.
WHY? tracking left to right, concept of word
WHAT? Check out the materials below for pointers children will enjoy using as they read poems as a group or individually. Magic Pointer – Cover a cardboard roller from a pants hanger with holographic paper or aluminum foil. Roll the end in glue and dip in glitter.
Finger Pointer – Stuff a garden glove with fiber fill. Attach to a wooden dowel with a pipe cleaner. Glue down the fingers so the glove looks like it is pointing.
Wooden Spoon – Decorate the end of a wooden spoon with a face and then use it to track print.
Toy Pointer - Glue a plastic toy or other object that would interest children to the end of a wooden dowel.
Pencil Pointer – Keep novelty pencils in a cup at your reading center and let children choose their favorite to help them read.
Flashlight Pointer - Turn off the lights and point to words with a flashlight.
Bugle Pointer – Let children put a bugle corn chip on their finger. They get to eat it after they read!
Harry Potter Pointer – Give children a wooden chopstick. Let them dip the end in glue and then roll in glitter. Terrrriiifffiiiccc!
Magic Eye – Glue a wiggly eye to a jumbo craft stick. Children “keep their eye” on the words as they read.
Fingernail – Purchase fake fingernails at a discount store. Glue nails to the ends of craft sticks.
Coffee stirrers, straws, swizzle sticks, decorative florist sticks, and other unique items can be used to perk children’s interest!
WHY? creating a print-rich environment, interest in print
WHAT? poetry books, chart paper, markers, pocket charts, poster board
HOW? Use some of these ideas to display poetry in your classroom
Language Experience Charts – Write poems on language experience
charts and hang around the classroom. If you hang them on a pants
hanger or attach with book rings to a regular hanger you can move
them around the room to different locations.
Posters – Write poems that relate to seasons or holidays on posters. Let children decorate with markers, crayons, paint. or other art media.
WHY? phonological awareness, phonics, high frequency words, comprehension
WHAT? poems on charts, big books of poems, highlighting tape
HOW? Integrate reading skills in a meaningful way through poetry:
Syllables – After reading a poem with your students, read it again clapping the number of syllables in each word. You could also snap, stomp, hop or make other movements for the syllables.
Challenge children to identify words with one syllable. Can they find words with two syllables? Can they find a word that has the same number of syllables as their name?
Rhyming Words – Following a reading, mention that you heard words that sounded alike at the end. Repeat two of the words that rhyme. Let’s read the poem again and see if you can listen for other words that rhyme. As children find words that rhyme, highlight them on the poem with highlighting markers or tape. Write sets of words that rhyme on the board. Underline the letters that are the same. Have children think of other words that have the same sound at the end. Write the rhyming words on the board as the children call them out.
Onsets and Rimes – Take 3” x 5” index cards. Cut 3” x 2” rectangles from white paper and staple five to the top left side of each index card. Write rimes (vowel and letters following it) on the long section of the index card. Write onsets (consonants and blends) on the strips. Lift up the strips so children can blend the onsets and rimes and read the words.
Rime Boxes – Place magnet letters that will create a particular word family (such as a, t, m, p, b, c, h, r) in a small breath mint can. Put a list of the words that can be made from the letters in the box so children can reproduce them on the lid.
High Frequency Words – Highlight word wall words that are in poems. Pass out flash cards with words and challenge children to match them with words in the poem.
Comprehension – After reading a poem, ask appropriate questions that will develop comprehension skills. Is there a main character? What was the setting? When did the poem take place? What happened at the beginning? Middle? End? Was there a problem or resolution? What will happen next? What was the main idea?
WHY? vocabulary, language play, thesaurus
WHAT? large copies of poems, pocket charts, big books, sticky notes, markers
HOW? After reading a poem or nursery rhyme, encourage children to substitute similar words. For example, if you took “Little Miss Muffet,” you could ask children for another word for “little,” “tuffet”, “curds and whey,” etc. Write children’s suggestions on sticky notes and put them over the original word. You might end up with something like this:
Small Miss Muffet
Sat on her stool
Eating her cottage cheese.
Along came an arachnid
Who sat down beside her
And scared Miss Muffet away.
Model how to look words up in a thesaurus to find synonyms.
MORE? Substitute words that rhyme in poems. Children will enjoy this because of the nonsense involved. Little Boy Blue might become:
Little Boy shoe
Come blow your torn.
The sheep’s in the fellow,
The cow’s in the morn.
Where is the toy
Who looks after the jeep?
He’s under the toy stack
Fast a peep.
Let each child take a traditional nursery rhyme and change a few words to make their own rhyme. Illustrate these and bind together to make a class book.
WHY? increased vocabulary, dictionary skills
WHAT? poems, dictionaries, thesaurus
HOW? Poetry is a perfect way to expand vocabulary. Simply by listening to poetry, children will indirectly be exposed to new words. New words can also be studied directly. Encourage children to pick out words from poems that they are not familiar with. Demonstrate strategies for figuring out what new words might mean.
a. Use text to predict the word meaning
b. Look for root words, endings, etc. that might give a clue as to the meaning.
c. Model how to look up words in a dictionary.
Review the different definitions, and then select the one most appropriate to the text.
Frequently use new vocabulary in daily conversations with the children.
MORE? Keep a list of “new words” children discover together. Call the list “Word Power” and invite children to add words to the list.