Books are Enough

The Power of Free, Self-Selected Reading

About Poetry

Some thoughts on poetry…

I hate it when students are forced to answer bubble questions about poems. How silly. I encourage daily or weekly reading of poem with students.  Have fun with the words but NO WORKSHEETS with questions and answers please.  Throw out some poetry books one day and let kids find a poem they connect with. Let kids write about what they want and not off of some artificial prompt.

Our elementary schools are turning kids into zombies that we have to deal with in high school. They are taught that poetry, reading, words and language are simply tasks to complete.

My best advice about what to say to engaged readers is, “NOTHING.” Let them read and acquire good-reader habits on their own. Stay out of their heads.  You can discuss things with readers when they are done.

Last week I handed out a Thomas Hardy poem called, “The Man He Killed.” Some test prep company used the poem and had 12 questions to go with it.

The students were STUNNED when I asked them to please tear up the pages with the questions and throw them away!

We read the poem and even presented it in different tones and accents… and talked of war and peace- mankind and life…



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2 thoughts on “About Poetry

  1. I hated studying poetry in second grade (the late 1980s). The entire class was forced to memorize and recite from memory the same poems. It was a horrible experience that turned me off from poetry for many years. It wasn’t until I was an adult composing classical music that I returned to poetry (William Blake and Emily Dickinson) and began to live with it instead of rushing through it.

  2. A fine story, and one that demonstrates why teaching is an art, while education is a mere science. Give me a ‘teacher’ over an ‘educator’ any day!

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