Russell Yates


The cool thing about poetry is how much of the author's thoughts and feelings you can get from reading it. The tricky part of course is actually doing it. The clues that the poet gives you about their thoughts and feelings come from their word choice and the punctuation. When I read poetry I find myself reading it aloud to myself. For some reason it allows me to better interpret what the poet is trying to tell me. I also will reread a poem because that helps me better understand it. When you read a poem, watch the punctuation very carefully and pause where the author wants you to pause. Try to find the rhythm of the poem, kind of like the rhythm to a song, it's there if you look for it.

For this genre, explore the poetry links below. Read the poems (at least as many as you can, there are tons of them) and practice looking for the thoughts and feelings of the poets. Choose one of the poems that you want to read aloud to your class and print it out.

Practice reading your poem to some friends and then practice some more. Remember that you don't always need to pause at the end of every line, watch for the punctuation marks, they let you know where to pause. Ask your friends what they think, have them give you "two stars and a wish" (two statements about what they liked about your reading and one thing they think you could do a little bit better). This way you will know what things you are doing well and you will learn something you can work on to improve your reading.

Copy your poem onto a large piece of white paper using your best penmanship and then glue it onto a slightly larger piece of colored paper. Add some designs to your border that match the mood of the poem. You will use this as a backdrop to your poetry reading.

Set up a time to present the poem to your class. Perhaps you can have some of your friends present poems they have practiced at the same time, then it will be an official poetry reading!

Do you want to write some poetry? Let's do it! Follow the link to the Poetry4Kids website. Click on the Poetry Lessons link and read through the lessons given there about writing poetry. Then try your hand at writing some poems. As you did above, make a poster out of your best poem then give it to a couple friends. Have them read it aloud. After they have practiced reading it a bit, listen to them, do they read it in a way that brings out your thoughts and feelings? Do you need to revise some of your punctuation or word choices?

For some more fun, try out the online games at the Poetry4Kids website.

If you want to read more poetry, try some of these.

  • Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic, Sung in the Year 1888 by Ernest Lawrence Thayer
  • I Am Phoenix: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman
  • If I Were in Charge of the World, and Other Worries by Judith Viorst
  • The New Kid on the Block by Jack Prelutsky
  • Poem Stew ed. by William Cole
  • Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

Use the email link to tell me your thoughts about poetry, what you learned, and how your presentation went! I would also love for you to send me a copy of your poetry.

 Giggle Poetry
 KidzPage: Poetry and Verse...
 SchoolWorld Poetry Pages

 Notes for Teachers

  Reading the Genres Home

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copyright © 2005 by Russell Yates