1. Poetry is gender friendly.
It's just as popular with boys and girls.
2. Poetry builds phonemic awareness skills in newbie readers.
Learning to read starts with the ears before the eyes. Emergent readers must learn to discriminate between similar sounds which is why recognizing rhyme is such an important early reading skill. Reading rhyming poems aloud (starting with nursery rhymes) is so important for young children because it's getting their ears ready to read.
3. Poetry appeals to readers of all abilities, including reluctant readers. Short poems help reluctant readers feel more confident because there is visually less text (and more white space) on the page. Struggling readers can feel very successful reading a short poem, even when vocabulary is more complex.
4. Poetry is meant to be read aloud and shared with others.
This makes it an ideal text for paired reading with same grade students (like a Read-in) or between grade level pairings (like Book Buddies). There are also opportunities for dramatic interpretations and poetry slams.
5. Poetry builds fluency.
Leading fluency expert, Dr. Timothy Rasinski, is a huge proponent of rereading short poems to build all components of oral reading fluency: automaticity, prosody, accuracy & speed, expression, intonation & phrasing.
6. Poetry builds vocabulary.
Even short poems can be incredibly vocabulary rich, providing a big learning dividend.
7. Poetry supports the teaching of just about any topic or subject area.
Many general anthologies make it very easy to find a poem on your topic of choice: family, pets, the weather, friends, holidays and so on... And now, there are even poems that support STEM topics. As you will see below, poetry and non-fiction can be good friends.
8. Poetry builds critical thinking skills.
Poetry doesn't hand out answers, but encourages questioning of text. It allows students to think about a topic in a fresh new way. Isn't it nice when there isn't just one right answer?
9. Poetry engages students in close reading.
Every word counts in poetry, so it's important to read it carefully. It's such an ideal text for students to make text-to-text, text-to-self and text-to-world connections.
10. Poetry supports the Common Core State Standards.
There are some standards relating to poetry specifically, but poetry can also help students comprehend other tricky concepts like figurative language (simile, metaphor, and personification) in context.
11. Poetry is a time superhero.
Sometimes there just isn't time to read a narrative text aloud, but a good poem or two has the muscle to squeeze learning out of even five minutes before recess.
(Published November, 2016)
(Published February, 2014)
(Published September, 2012)