This post offers some concepts on exactly how to introduce poetry come ELLs and also integrate it with reading instruction, and also some ideas for analysis poetry aloud in a method that will encourage dental language development.

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A small Poem for Poetry Monthby Jack Prelutsky

I"m glad we have actually a poetry Month,But still, ns wonder whyThey determined a month v thirty work —Were month in brief supply?I wish that they"d selectedA much longer month, choose May.I"m details I"d appreciateThat extra city day.

Of course, if they"d picked February,I would certainly be aghast,For February"s really shortAnd passes much too fast.But April"s no as brief as that,So i don"t hesitateTo speak I"m happy it"s poetry Month.Hooray! Let"s celebrate.

Poetry All-Year Round

Even though poetry it s okay a most attention during Poetry Month in April (as it should), the is funny to teach any kind of time the year! I need to admit that ns am attracted to fiction, and also teaching poetry seemed difficult at first; yet I have found the delight of poetry while experimenting it through my English language learners, and also my students have actually been an extremely enthusiastic about our poetry units. Here are some of the reasons why I"ve took pleasure in teaching poetry so lot with mine ELLs:


Poetry is for this reason versatile, which makes it a great kind to usage in the ELL classroom. There space so many types of poetry and also so countless different creates that eventually, each student is bound to find a poem or poet the or she enjoys!


Poems deserve to be offered to introduce or practice new vocabulary, language structures, and rhyming devices, and much shorter poems regularly give ELLs a chance to discover an idea when working through a an ext manageable amount of message than a quick story or essay.


In addition, numerous ELLs come from social backgrounds rich v poetry and also folktales. Indigenous the epic poems of ancient civilizations come more modern-day political poems written throughout the 20th century, poetry opens up an exciting historical and cultural window, and students may already be quite knowledgeable around the poets and poems the are an important part of your heritage.

There space a number of ways to usage poetry in the ELL classroom. This short article focuses on exactly how to present poetry to ELLs and also integrate the with reading instruction. For ideas on to teach poetry composing to ELLs, take it a watch at creating Poetry v English Language Learners.


Take a look in ~ these different perspectives top top reading and writing city from several of our favorite poets, featured in our poetry section!

Poetry offers wonderful opportunities for reading, writing, speaking, and listening exercise for ELLs. Poetry additionally gives students a opportunity to expand vocabulary knowledge, to play v language, and also to occupational with different rhythms and also rhyme patterns. The benefits of making use of poetry are not simply anecdotal, yet — they have been fine documented. Study by Dr. Janette Hughes at the college of Ontario, because that example, displayed the positive results of poetry on literacy development. As Dr. Hughes clues out, "paying attention to vocabulary and rhythm develops oral language skills," (Hughes, 2007, p. 1) and also the advance of oral language an abilities has a solid correlation come proficiency in reading.

Where come begin, then, as you think about how to start a unit ~ above poetry? right here are some concepts to get you started:

Draw ~ above students" lift knowledge

It might be helpful to begin your city instruction by finding the end what type of experiences your students have had with poetry. Do students understand poems in their indigenous language? Is over there a details poem from their country or heritage that they like? would certainly they be willing to re-superstructure a translation? Who space the famous poets from their country? have students written poems before? was it in English or their native language? did student enjoy writing poetry?

Getting students come think about poems they are acquainted with can aid make the change into English-language poetry smoother. Friend may additionally wish to have actually students look in ~ bilingual collections of city in English and their aboriginal language when available, together as countless of the titles in Colorín Colorado"s Poems for anyone booklist. Just how do the translations the the very same poem compare? room there native or phrases that don"t analyze well from one langue come the other?

Working with poetry from various countries and languages likewise is wonderful opportunity come encourage students to share their social heritage with the class, and to take pride in one art kind that is part of your identity and may have actually been happen down across many generations.

For example, Carol McCarthy, a teacher in Queens, NY has capitalized on she students" poetic heritages by developing a unit referred to as Poetry in Translation, in i m sorry students "translate the occupational of poets from their native nation or country heritage, and then write and also translate their very own poems" (McCarthy, Academy the American Poets website). She uses a variety of ideas for guiding college student in their exploration of city from their very own cultures, which then provides a structure for the compare students execute of poems from different societies later in the unit.

Using poetry in reading Instruction

Familiarize student with various kinds that poems

Poetry can selection from basic and fun to complex and abstract, which might be one reason it is daunting for countless teachers and also students alike. Start by choosing straightforward poems that aren"t as well abstract or complicated — you"ll obtain to Shakespeare eventually! relying on the English level the the students, there room a range of methods to start bringing city in the classroom.

Talk around the differences in between stories and also poems. administer students with a copy that a quick story they"ve already read and a quick poem. Ask them to work in groups and make a perform of the differences in between the two pieces, noting attributes such as size or style. Have actually students re-publishing those differences with the class.Start with poems that are manageable. Make sure the poems girlfriend present first have basic and familiar language, images, and themes so that they are obtainable to ELLs. One ESL teacher recommends using poetry through "predictable language patterns, recurring words, phrases, lines, and identifiable rhymes" so that they are simpler for student to read (Alpha, 2009).Give college student a possibility to show poems. have students occupational in bag to discuss and illustrate a short poem, or one or 2 lines of a much longer poem. This will certainly encourage them to think around meaning, and then to express their interpretation in their own way. Questioning students to share their illustrations through the course so that everyone has a opportunity to think around the different interpretations that their classmates discovered.Read a variety of poems out loud. reading a city out according to brings it to life. College student will begin to recognize and notification different rhythms, rhymes, and feelings represented, as well as understand just how the language creates photo or mood. The poem need to be read in a herbal voice, and the teacher have the right to highlight the truth that you execute not constantly stop in ~ the end of every line, however instead use the poem"s punctuation together a cue to wherein the pauses should be.Give college student a opportunity to review poems out loud together as a class and to each other. reading poems the end loud will boost students" confidence and oral language skills, and also their analysis fluency. See an ext ideas below.Look for methods to encompass poetry in other contexts. there is a wide range of poems that deserve to accompany society studies, history, science, and even mathematics lessons! Poems are also wonderful enhancements to a discussion on society and holidays.

Encourage students to immerse themselves in poetry

As students" comfort level increases, it will be possible to begin an ext in-depth conversations around different poetry forms, meaning, and language. Here are some principles for an ext advanced students:

Use graphics organizers. this tools deserve to be valuable when talking around a poem"s structure or rhyming system so that students deserve to reinforce their knowledge about the poetry kind and meaning.Discuss grammatical/syntax patterns discovered in poems. Poems may have unusual sentence structures that students will certainly not conference in prose text. Examining such sentence can assist ELLs construct a better understanding of conventional English syntax.Continue reading poetry the end loud to her students. When introducing more complex poems with increasingly challenging English vocabulary, review the city through and ask students for an early stage impression about the meaning of the poem. A student can say, "I think it"s about someone who lost someone theylove." This can start a conversation with inquiries such as, "Why perform you think that? Is there a specific word or expression that renders you think that? Does who else have a different idea?"Encourage students come share their personal interpretations. students will soon see that each leader finds a different meaning in the poem, and also that"s ok. College student shouldn"t it is in bogged down searching for the right and also wrong answers.

Using poetry to develop Oral Language Skills

Give student the chance to read poems the end loud

Reading city aloud is a good way for ELLs to exercise pronunciation and also fluency, as well as a opportunity for students come play v rhymes and also language.

In bespeak to increase confidence and fluency, have actually students begin by analysis some poems together as a class. Then have students choose a city that lock enjoy and then exercise reading your poems great in pairs, exploring with expression, volume, and speed. After ~ students have had actually time come practice, listen in and offer some feedback ~ above expression and pronunciation. When students have actually one more round of practice, ask students to share your poems aloud v the class.

Poems deserve to make wonderful course presentations, even if it is students read various poems indigenous a collection aloud, act out a longer dramatic poem, or take turns reading a rhyming text. Below are some poetry theater concepts from Andrea Spillett, one ELL teacher who blogs for Scholastic, describes a program in i beg your pardon students gift poems from Chicken Soup through Rice through Maurice Sendak to their parents: "The publication has a rhyming text around the months of the year. College student recited the poem of the month they to be born. An easy costumes and a backdrop were used for the presentation" (Spillett, 2008). This demonstrates the poetry doesn"t need to be complex to be reliable — even straightforward poems can be engaging!

There are many resources digital that offer principles for using poetry in the great — those detailed in the Hotlinks section listed below are simply the pointer of the iceberg. I hope you gain your expedition of city as much as i have took pleasure in mine. When you acquire going, you"ll wonder why it take it you so long to obtain started!


Click the "References" link over to hide this references.

Alpha, J. (2009).Utilizing poetry together an ESL to teach tool and also resource. Re-cover April 22, 2009 from

HughesJ. (2007). Poetry: A powerful medium for proficiency and an innovation development (What Works? Research into Practice research study Monograph #7). Re-cover April 23, 2009 from

McCarthy, Carol. City in translation. Lesson arrangement published through the Academy of American Poets. Retrieved April 22, 2009 from

Spillette, Andrea. (2008, April 5). Celebrate poetry Month v Your English Language Learners. Post posted to


Alpha, J. (2009).Utilizing poetry together an ESL teaching tool and also resource. Re-cover April 22, 2009 from

HughesJ. (2007). Poetry: A powerful medium for literacy and modern technology development (What Works? Research into Practice research study Monograph #7). Retrieved April 23, 2009 from

McCarthy, Carol. City in translation. Lesson plan published by the Academy of American Poets. Recall April 22, 2009 from

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Spillette, Andrea. (2008, April 5). Celebrate poetry Month with Your English Language Learners. Post posted come

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