Author: Nicole Flores
Seminar: Modern and Contemporary U.S. Poetry
Grade Level: 6
Poetry, even difficult poetry is sometimes a neglected resource for teaching reading skills. Readers who struggle can find many elements of poetry useful. First, repeatedly reading any text is one strategy that has been shown to increase comprehension (Nageldinger and Young). Because many poems are short, they offer a less stressful way for the same goal to be achieved. Using short texts that are grade appropriate gives a student a better chance to make sense of their reading (Murphy). A student sees a clean uncomplicated page of poetry and a higher desire to dig into it. The compact size of most poems lends to them being able to be reread multiple times by a reader, as was previously stated. This repetition can also lead to reading fluency. Once a student can fluently read, and is unencumbered by obstacles of decoding, the brain is then freed up to better understand what is being read (Nageldinger and Young).
Poetry’s concise nature and room for interpretation can sometimes appeal to the struggling reader. They are not, in most cases, overwhelmed with text, and their own understanding of the text, as long as it is thoughtful, may be sufficient. They have a high chance for success! This unit will use poetry to engage, motivate and teach struggling readers. It will provide guidance for close reading a poem, making meaning of it, and then using it to teach vocabulary, and comprehension skills/concepts. The objectives will be as follows:
Each lesson plan will follow the 5-step routine of close reading used in this unit. The poem or text is read and least two times, vocabulary words are identified and defined, the poem is analyzed using the appropriate meanings of the words found (the depth of which is the teacher’s discretion), overall meaning from the poem is determined, then the poem can be used to teach or review a particular skill. This routine is explained more in Lesson 1. Students will be encouraged to create their own poetry using a variety of techniques in the second part of the classroom activities. These techniques should allow students of any reading or writing level to create interesting poetry.
The third and final part of this unit’s activities will allow students to use the skills learned during the unit to independently (or with a partner) work with a poem chosen on their own.
Download Unit: Flores-N.-19.01.01.pdf