How Can You Get Kids More Excited About Poetry?

by Bruce Lansky

The single most important thing a teacher can do is teach his or her attitude. That is, if a teacher loves poetry or is excited about poetry, it is very likely that kids will pick this up. The main thing is to make the entire process of reading and writing poetry with students fun.

A teacher who loves poetry will:

1. Select poems that kids will enjoy--either to read and discuss or use as a model for writing.

2. Include poetry in the classroom every day or every week--with a daily or weekly poetry break.

3. Recite poetry to celebrate birthdays, holidays, and special occasions.

4. Have a wide range of poetry books in the classroom for kids to access.

5. Promote poetry projects such as:
-compiling a book of your students' favorite poems
-compiling a book of poems students have written
-inviting parents in for a poetry recital
-requiring students to recite poems for show and tell (e.g., if they didn't go anywhere fascinating for summer vacation, they can recite a poem about a trip or activity they wished they had taken).

6. Invite kids to perform poetry as duets or trios. (They can use the poems on GigglePoetry.com in the Poetry Theater section.)

7. Invite any mothers, fathers, principals, or superintendents who visit your classroom to recite a poem.

If a teacher starts with a love for poetry and makes the process of reading and writing poetry fun, the ideas above are just a few ways to encourage students to love poetry, too.

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