“We all write poems; it is simply that poets are the ones that write in words.”
April is Poetry Month! E-Therapy’s expert speech therapist, Diana Martin, has created a comprehensive guide with resources, games and speech therapy activities that are perfect for ELA, Speech and Language, and SEL lessons. Start here with her video overview:
Do your students moan, groan, and sigh when asked to write a poem? Maybe they say they hate writing altogether. Introducing poetry is a great way to reset their thinking about themselves as writers. Whether you are an SLP, special education teacher, or counselor, poems and poetry writing can support a host of instructional goals.
Poems tend to be shorter, more accessible texts and may appear easier to tackle than a longer selection that students are asked to read, write, or talk about. Modeling your own thinking, writing, and writing process (modeled writing, shared writing) are all important strategies to help your students recognize that as a teacher or therapist, you understand what it is like to struggle with ideas and putting your own thoughts into words. Students benefit from hearing you read poems, talk about poems, and write poems.
Kick off a poetry unit with Immersion
As part of poetry immersion, share the written texts of poems while reading them (shared reading) and make lists of what learners notice. Using the Poetry Unit of Study Virtual Room is a useful tool in this process. This allows students to engage with poetry through a writer’s eye.
In order for students to grow in their poetry discussion, writing, and reading skills, they need to feel safe to take risks. Often students are only told what they did wrong with their writing or what is missing. Putting words down on paper feels very risky if feedback feels negative. Feedback should name and notice a few things that the writer did well and one thing to fix. And when offering a fix, instruct the student how this fix will make their poem stronger.
Poetry immersion also shows students that they can imitate other poets and use their poems as mentor texts, just like great painters learn by imitating master artists.
Using the Poetry Unit of Study Activity Guide includes over 30 links and lesson ideas of moving your students from the immersion process to actually composing their own poetry drafts.
Poetry can be used to teach, practice and/or reinforce the following goal areas:
- Comprehension strategies
- Questioning and inferential skills
- Figurative language (simile, metaphor, personification, idioms)
- Identifying main idea or themes
- Purpose of punctuation, white space, line breaks
- Point of view
- Articulation skills (words, phrases, sentences, conversation)
- Fluency techniques such as easy-onset, light contacts, pull-outs, cancellations, pausing, and phrasing.
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