Many of you who know me or my work know that early in my career as an educator, I began writing sight word poems so that my first graders could get more practice with those all important 220. My first two published books were completely sight word poems. My mother still has my first-ever book of poems which I made when I was eight out of construction paper, yarn, and notebook paper. Yes, I said notebook paper. I have always loved poetry and I have always tried to instill that love in my students.
One May, I remember getting ready to start writing poetry with my second graders. I was sure to spend a week or so reading a wide variety of poetry to them so that they were exposed to many styles before they attempted their first poems. . As I started to read poems to my kids, a child named Hillary said out loud: Hey Mrs. Reynolds, where did you find those books anyway? Now all year I'd had a book bucket marked "POETRY" in the classroom library, full of great poetry collections, but never drew attention to it. Once I showed them, it was never full again!
It's April, and that's means it's also National Poetry Month. So here is your chance to start getting your students to love poetry. Richard Byrne's blog Free Technology for Teachers had a great post last week about a wide variety of poetry resources. I've linked it here so you can check it out.
Read tons of poetry to them and honor their every attempt at writing. Remember, and remind your students too, that poems do not have to rhyme, they don't need full sentences, fewer words are often better than more, and that sometimes, when we write poetry, we bend the rules a bit. Have fun!