October 10, 2011

Building Fluency with Poetry Books

Poetry is one of my favorite ways to help students build their reading fluency, develop a love of poetry, introduce new words, and build vocabulary. (Don't you just LOVE all the great words that Jack Prelutsky uses?!?  Amazing!  He is a model of word choice.) Anyway, I started reading stations this week and wanted to include a fluency option for my kiddos.  I decided to "steal" the idea of a good friend who teaches 5th grade in Washington.  Hence...student poetry books. (Thanks Lisa!)

This is my example.
The poetry books are simple and straight forward.  I folded two sheets of construction paper and stapled.  

Students decorated the front of their poetry books and wrote simplified directions on the back cover so that they don't have to interrupt my small groups.  Here are more detailed directions that I glued to the center folder.
  1. Cut out poem and glue into poetry book
  2. Read the poem to yourself silently 
  3. Track your thinking.  Write 1 or more thoughts you have about the poem. (I think..., I wonder..., It reminds me of..., I figured out..., etc.)
  4. Read the poem to yourself in a whisper voice.
  5. Read the poem aloud to 3 classmates. Each person that listens to the poem must sign your poetry book.
This is an example of how kids track their thinking about the poem.
 When students are finished they have read the poem at least 5 times.  They are always amazing how much better they sound in the end.  At the end of the week, I will often use the same poem for a choral reading and the kids sound great because they have been practicing all week. 

    This is my favorite station and my students. I love how easy it is to maintain and the students love reading the poems to each other. Plus, their fluency is really improving and they cheer instead of groan when we talk about poetry.  Everyone wins!


    1. I love this idea, thank you so much for sharing! My favorite part is that you have provided a fun way for the students to practice their poems, which increases their fluency w/o it getting boring. Signing each other's books sounds too cool. I will have to "steal" this idea from you now. : )

    2. My kiddos LOVE poetry notebooks! I agree on everything you said. I also have sentence strips of each poem. After we finish our weekly poem, I put them sentence strips in the Poetry Center. Students love revisiting poems that we have done.

    3. Fabulous idea! I wouldn't have thought of having the kids write there thinking or getting the other students to sign them. Thanks

    4. I love u sing poetry in my class room! I use it to help with fluency, too, but also to spark their creativity in writing. It's also a great go-to for reteaching concepts to students without having to trudge your way through a long text!

    5. I really love this idea, and it sounds like a great way for students to practice fluency too.
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    Thank you for taking a moment to share your thoughts!