Cut a pocket off an old pair of pants and staple it to a bulletin board. Store favorite poems in the pocket so the children can read them over and over. Take a look at some other ways you can reinforce reading skills with poetry. These activities are much more multi-sensory and engaging than a worksheet or computer program!!!
Syllables – After reading a poem with your students, read it again clapping the number of syllables in each word. You could also snap, stomp, hop or make other movements for the syllables.
Rhyming Words – Following a reading, mention that you heard words that sounded alike at the end. Repeat two of the words that rhyme. Let’s read the poem again and see if you can listen for other words that rhyme. As children find words that rhyme, highlight them on the poem with highlighting markers or tape. Write sets of words that rhyme on the board. Underline the letters that are the same. Have children think of other words that have the same sound at the end. Write the rhyming words on the board as the children call them out.
Alliteration – Read poems that have strong alliteration. Ask children to identify words with the same beginning sound. Highlight the words in the poem or list them on the board. Can children add other words to the list that begin with the same sound?
Sound Scramble – Just for fun, choose an initial consonant sound and alliterate each word in a rhyme. For example: Bumpty Bumpty Bat Bon Ba Ball. Bumpty Bumpty bad ba breat ball…
Decoding Skills – As you come to unknown words in poems, stop and model how to sound them out by blending the sounds.
Predicting – Before reading a poem, encourage the children to look at the title or illustrations and predict what the poem might be about.
High Frequency Words – Highlight word wall words that are in poems. Pass out flash cards with words and challenge children to match them with words in the poem.
Parts of Speech – Ask children to identify verbs, nouns, and other parts of speech in poetry.
Comprehension – After reading a poem, ask appropriate questions that will develop comprehension skills. Is there a main character? What was the setting? When did the poem take place? What happened at the beginning? Middle? End? Was there a problem or resolution? What will happen next? What was the main idea?
Genres of Literature – Help children recognize different types of literature through poetry. Could the poem really happen or is it pretend? Poems and books that are pretend are called “fiction” and those that are real are called “non-fiction.” Is the poem humorous or serious? Does it tell a story (epic) or is it just a rhyme?
Being able to visualize what is happening in a story, poem, or text is a strategy for improving comprehension. Have children close their eyes as you read different poems to them. Encourage the children to make a picture in their brains to go along with what they hear. After listening to the poem, encourage the children to discuss the pictures that they made in their heads.