Mona Voelkel

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The Power of “Poem of the Week”

What is it?

“Poem of the Week” is an activity for home or school. All you need to do is select a poem and post it in an easily seen location, such as the chalkboard or refrigerator. Read the poem together. You can read the poem chorally, take turns reading a line or stanza or “echo read” (the adult reads a line and the child repeats the same line).

Why read a daily poem?

Reading poetry aloud every day builds poetry appreciation, fluency and a deeper understanding of the rhymes and rhythms of language.

How do I do it?

First: Select a poem that you enjoy and write the poem out on chart paper. There is something very tactile about writing the poem out in enlarged text that adds to the poetry experience while making the poem more visible. If that is too time-consuming, just mark your poem with a bookmark.

Second: Take time every day to read the poem together or take turns reading a line. For more difficult poems, “echo” read with the adult reading a line and the child reading the same line.

Third: Keep the emphasis on fun but do have conversation about what you and your child notice about the meaning, words and/or craft of the poem. Later in the week, you may want to talk about rhyming or favorite words. As the student becomes proficient at reading the poem, invite your child to read the poem to family members outside the household. (I would have students collect signatures from every person to whom they read aloud, each time they read, on the back of a copy of the poem.)

Fourth: Celebrate the final reading at the end of the week by making an audio or video recording. Invite your child to help stage the final reading with props or costumes.

Happy Reading! I would recommend starting “Poem of the Week” project with “School Daze Rap” from Carol Diggory Shields, Lunch Money and Other Poems about School, but there are so many wonderful poems! Here are some of my current favorite collections for selecting a “Poem for the Week.”

Carol Diggory Shields, Lunch Money and Other Poems About School

Nancy Larrick (editor), Piping Down the Valleys Wild

Jack Prelutsky (editor) and Arnold Lobel (illustrator), The Random House Book of Poetry for Children

Sylvia Vardell & Janet Wong and Franzi Paetzold (illustrator), Hop to it: Poems to Get You Moving

Alex Wharton and Kathy Riddell (illustrator), Daydreams and Jellybeans

These are so many beautiful poems and sharing the beauty with your students and children create beautiful memories. I have recently discovered the poetry of Alex Wharton and I just think any child would love a poem that starts like this (from “Midnight Wish”): “I’m a moon,/and I shine for you,”

May you find many poems together.


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