Using Poetry to Teach Blends and Digraphs
Tips and activities for sharing, studying, and building students' understanding of blends and digraphs
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
Sharing and studying blend and digraph poems is easy as 1, 2, 3. Here are the basic steps to follow for any poem:
1. In advance, write the poem on chart paper. You can also enlarge it on a copy machine, or copy it onto an overhead transparency and show it on the overhead projector. You might also copy the page for each child.
2. Read the title and have children predict what the poem may be about. Then read the poem aloud to children, tracking the print as you go. Read the poem again, inviting children to join in when they can. If a word is new to children, invite them to try using the context of the poem to figure it out.
3. Investigate the target blend or digraph. Point out one word in the poem that has that letter combination. As a class, find other words with the blend or digraph. Have them write the words with that letter combination in the poem. They can then list all other words in the family that they can think of. (If they each have their own poem page, they can also circle or highlight all the blends or digraphs they find.)
Here are more ways to build on children’s understanding of the blends, digraphs, and poems:
1. Children can act out many of the poems. They may also enjoy making up their own movements to accompany a poem.
2. As you read a poem aloud, invite children to clap when they hear a word with the target blend or digraph.
3. Write words on index cards and have children sort them by letter combination. For instance, they can sort words beginning with bl- and cr- into two different groups.
4. Create a word wall and display words according to blends or digraphs they feature. You might begin by having children’s names ready to put on the word wall and guiding children to notice blends and digraphs. Ask children to decide where the names should go.
5. Record poems on audiotape. Make copies of the pages and place them at the listening center. Children can listen to the poems as they read along.
6. Have children color in the pictures on each poem page, or create their own illustration for the poem on a separate sheet of paper.
7. Write each line of a poem on a sentence strip and have children work in pairs to recreate the sequence of the poem. After the partners reconstruct a poem, they can read it aloud to the group.
8. Bind the poems together and send them home as a poetry book. You might also put the poems in a folder. At the end of the school year, children will have their own collection of poems for their personal libraries.
9. At home, families can help children find the target blends or digraphs in books, magazines, or newspapers. They can also help their children look for the different letter combinations in environmental print, for example, on labels in the supermarket or signs on stores.
From Scholastic Professional Books’ 40 Wonderful Blend and Digraph Poems