This article says it all. I have introduced poems into my early ESL classes and it has gone down well with the students. Last term, I found two poems that I felt were accessible to students that fit in with the science theme, earth sciences, that I was covering at the time. The poems on Autumn and Spring were short and easily understood given that we had been exploring the vocabulary of those topics. One poem was very accessible and suitable for the language level of the whole class. I projected that poem on the screen and after reading the poem aloud, I got them to locate information eg. words linked to what people do during the season, what we can see etc. It was a great review of learnt concepts and introduction to new ones. With the second poem, I decided that it may be too difficult for some of my struggling students, so I introduced it in small groups. I got a small group each to rotate activities, and each group came to me to listen to and talk about the poem. This intimate exploration of the poem worked well as students felt comfortable exploring their interpretation of the poem.
Make a daily habit of starting every ELA class with a poem — they’re short, intense, connect to other reading, and inspire student writing.
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