Name of Strategy: Reader Response--Write a Poem

  • Rationale:
• People naturally respond to the things they read, my students are no exception. I like the fact that my students like to discuss what they are reading, but I do not get to hear all of those conversations. By having students respond to something they have read through writing a poem about it, I can see what they learned from the reading, what they thought was most important, and I get them writing something other than a paragraph summary.

  • Courses in which it could be implemented:
• This can be done in all subject areas. Some examples of topics follow:
o Math—write an acrostic poem about symmetry or adding
o Science—write a haiku about an animal, clouds, etc.
o Social Studies—write a biographical poem about a historical figure we are studying
o Reading—write a diamonte about a character in a book you are reading

  • Diverse learners:
• Students who struggle with writing a paragraph can write a poem that gets their ideas across with fewer words. In some poems structure is not as important, so they are less intimidating than a report.

  • Procedure:
This is a science lesson.
1. Read the informational text, Living Sunlight
2. Tell students they are going to write a poem about how plants grow or photosynthesis. They may write an acrostic poem or a haiku.
3. Students have done acrostic poems in the past—write the subject of the poem vertically on the paper. Each line of the poem begins with the letters of the subject. Haikus are usually about nature and have the following form: first line—5 syllables, 2nd line—7 syllables, 3rd line—5 syllables.
4. Have students write their poems.

  • Potential Issues:
• Students generally have difficulty counting the syllables for the haiku or coming up with words for the acrostic. Offering support and encouragement and allowing students to problem solve together could help with these issues.

  • References
Harvey, Stephanie & Goudvis, Anne (2000). Strategies that Work: Teaching Comprehension to Enhance Understanding. Markham: Stenhouse Publishing.