There are many benefits of using poetry in your reading lessons so I hope you will consider incorporating poetry on a regular basis!
Here are 5 reasons why you should be using poetry in your reading lessons:
1. Phonemic Awareness: playing with and hearing sounds is what phonemic awareness is all about. Phonemic awareness is the best predictor of reading success that we have. Wait - let me say that again - phonemic awareness is the best predictor of reading success.
Using rhyming poetry will help develop this skill in your pre-readers. There's a reason Mother Goose has stood the test of time!
Jack Sprat could eat no fat,
his wife could eat no lean,
and so between the two of them they licked the platter clean.
Just unpacking this simple nursery rhyme we see how children are being introduced to the short 'a' sound, rhyming word families like 'at' and the long 'e' vowel pattern of 'ea'. Hearing these sounds and playing with them in language will go a long way to help them be successful when it's time to read these words and decode the patterns.
2. Fluency! Oh how great poetry is for helping slower or stilted readers develop fluency. Since fluency comprises more than just the ability to read quickly, we can use poetry to model phrasing, the rhythm of reading, and expression. It is impossible to read poetry without infusing it with expression. Take this excerpt from a poem by Jack Prelutsky, for example:
BY JACK PRELUTSKY
In the desolate depths of a perilous place
the bogeyman lurks, with a snarl on his face.
Never dare, never dare to approach his dark lair
for he's waiting . . . just waiting . . . to get you.
He skulks in the shadows, relentless and wild
in his search for a tender, delectable child.
With his steely sharp claws and his slavering jaws
oh he's waiting . . . just waiting . . . to get you.
3. High Interest. Children who are reluctant readers will often only read if something really, really interests them. Poems can bring the high interest factor to your reading program. If your child likes silly, funny, or humorous go for Jack Prelutsky and Shel Silverstein.
4. Short and Quick. Our reluctant readers will groan and moan when faced with a page of text or long paragraphs, but reading a poem makes the words slide along quickly and smoothly. Use poetry that interests your child if they are easily intimidated by long chunks of text or shut down when faced with too many words on a page.
5. Repeated Readings. Children need to reread text in order to be able to read it fluently. Well - poetry is made to be read over and over again - in fact - the more you read a poem, the more fun it becomes!
Use poetry often in your reading program and watch how it can impact your pre-reader, beginning reader, or struggling reader!