Teaching poetry with elementary students can be intimidating, but there are so many important skills that can be addressed. First and foremost, fluency!
We all know that reading a text repeatedly can help build fluency. When I taught third grade, it was so hard to get them to read a text again. #thestruggleisrealyo
That’s why poems are so great! They are fun, often short, and have rhythm. They are perfect for reading again and again. If fact, if you read a poem only once, you are doing it wrong!
This led me to create Poem-Tac-Toe! It’s a super simple way to practice fluency. You start with a poem and a poem-tac-toe board. Then, partners take turns reading the poem according to the directions on the game board. Continue reading until someone wins the tic tac toe game by getting three in a row. You can have them draw the x’s and o’s, or you can use checkers or Connect Four pieces, like in this picture.
It makes a great class center, and you can also send it home and have students play with their parents or siblings. They will love practicing their fluency, and parents will appreciate that it is a simple way for them to get involved!
In the poetry resources I create, I try to include a balance of fun poems that will make kids laugh, but I think it is important for students to read real literature, even though some of the words may be challenging.
If it sounds like something you would like to try, grab the poem-tac-toe freebie here.
Happy Poetry Month!