Growing Students Who Love Poetry

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Back in March, I had the pleasure of attending the Michigan Reading Association conference in Grand Rapids, MI. I had been preparing my own presentation for the event and had neglected to look at the program closely enough to plan the rest of my time. I arrived and sat with an hour to kill to plan my day. Needless to say, my first session was a no brainer. Among several wonderful presenters, one stood out. Georgia Heard would be presenting on, Growing Readers and Writers Who Love Poetry. I knew that would be a great way to start my day and maybe I would be lucky enough to meet her in person, FINALLY!

She began her presentation with a list of statements that I scrambled to write down. Here are the ones that struck me the most.

Teach them to…

  • See the world like a poet.
  • Observe small moments around them.
  • See poetry everywhere.
  • Love the meaning of sounds and words.
  • Write from all of their feelings.

She talked about how students change and transform as readers and writers with poetry. Poetry can unlock the struggle for struggling writers and open doors for all learners to make new connections.

She also discussed the five doors that help students break into a world of poetry.

  • Heart Door–Comes from feelings
  • Observation Door–Things we observe around us
  • Concerns About the World–The news, things we know
  • Wonder Door–Things we question
  • Memory Door–A memory is like a complete little poem

Some ideas she shared about craft were:

  • Poems are like tall buildings
  • Bring in something ordinary, describe it and generate ideas.
    • One example was to use an apple. She referenced the poem , Apple by Nan Fry as a good example.
  • Create word lists to generate a fascination with language
  • Take out a word from a poem and have students guess the word

Here is a list of Georgia’s favorite conferring questions when working with students.

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Here is a list of some of Georgia’s favorite poetry books.

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And here is lucky me, with the one and only, Georgia Heard.

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