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Poetry in the ESOL Classroom

This unit is an introduction to poetry for English Language Learners (ELLs) at the high school level.  Readings include a selection of children’s poetry as well as samples of contemporary American poetry. Students will learn the components of poetry as well as some of the forms of poetry. They will complete this unit having read, listened to, and written poems. I’ve included a variety of forms and suggested certain poems to allow access for learners at all levels of English proficiency, however teachers can choose selections can vary according to their individual preference or to fit a certain theme or time of year. Poetry can be both read and created in small increments, which allows English learners a chance to be frequently and repeatedly successful as they learn the English language. Additionally, because it often reflects the time and culture in which it was created, poetry can help students gain an insight into American culture. Students will develop their vocabulary, which is beneficial in improving reading and writing skills. Students will improve listening and speaking skills, including pronunciation and stress, as they listen to poetry and spend time reading aloud to each other.

Poetry is less daunting than other texts because it is usually shorter and each word is specifically chosen by the writer to send a message; this makes it more accessible to those just learning English.

English language learners, like all students, learn best by doing. The four domains, reading, writing, listening and speaking will be covered in every lesson to provide exposure to and practice with the English language in order to promote English language proficiency.

Meg Flisek
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