Lesson 1: What Is Poetry?

Day 2

Activity 3: Memorizing Poetry

When you read poetry aloud, treat the words delicately. Make them sound smooth rather than choppy. Instead of automatically stopping at the end of a line, follow the punctuation marks to guide where to pause and stop. For example, look at the first stanza of "My Quilt" from "Q is for Quatrain":
"My Quilt"
My grandmother made
The quilt on my bed,
With squares made of memories
And colorful thread.
Instead of pausing at the end of the first line, continue right onto the next line, pausing at the comma after "bed." Likewise, you wouldn't pause at the end of the third line. Find a poem to memorize in the book R is for Rhyme or in another book of poetry. (If a poem is long, ask a parent if you can memorize just a few stanzas.) A poem that has meaning for you will probably be easier to memorize. Poems that rhyme or have meter are also often easier to memorize. Think about the tone of your voice and the speed at which the poem should be read. Read the poem over and over aloud until you have it memorized, and then recite the poem for your family.
Your child should choose a poem to memorize and recite. If he chooses a long poem, you may want to have him memorize just a few stanzas. Advice was provided about using the punctuation in a poem as a guide about where to pause or stop (as opposed to automatically pausing at the end of each line). As your child recites his poem, listen for tone of voice and speed. Provide feedback to your child when he is finished.

Activity 4: Poetry Techniques

Materials: R is for Rhyme: A Poetry Alphabet by Judy Young, colored pencils*, thesaurus
Poets use a variety of techniques to make poetry more enjoyable and vivid. Remember that there are special rules and relationships found among the words in a poem. The use of figurative language can greatly affect the way the poem reads or sounds. Read and complete the activities on the pages, "Poetry Techniques," to learn more about some important figurative language devices and other tools that poets use.
Student Activity Page
Student Activity Page
Note that for the "Visual imagery" section on p. 2, you will need to read a poem (or section of a poem) from R is for Rhyme. Your child will draw what he "sees" in his mind when you read the poem, so do not let him see the illustration on the page(s) in the book.

Review your child's responses on the "Poetry Techniques" pages.

Answer Key:
  • Onomatopoeia: Answers could include crunch, whisper, whooshing, gobbled, snap, sizzle, crash, clatter, crispy, whir, buzz, plop
  • Alliteration: Answers will vary. Alliterative phrases are found in several poems in the book. If your child is having problems finding one, point him to "O is for Onomatopoeia"
  • Metaphor and simile: Answers will vary. If your child gives all similes, encourage him to create at least one metaphor. He can refer to "M is for Metaphor" for examples.
  • Synonym: Confirm that the synonyms your child found are similar in meaning to the original words he recorded.

Activity 5: Keeping a Journal

Materials: journal
Most authors keep a journal and encourage aspiring writers to do the same. You can record ideas, reflections, words, observations, and anything else in this journal. As you think about writing poetry, refer to your journal for inspiration and ideas. Take some time to record some ideas right now.
Your child will be keeping a thought journal throughout this unit. Encourage him to record his ideas and observations in this journal and to refer back to it on a regular basis.