Strategies to Read and Analyze Poetry
- Grades: 6–8
- Unit Plan:
Using one of Emily Dickinson's most famous poems, guide students to utilize various strategies for appreciating poetry.
- Understand poetry by applying a variety of strategies
- Appreciate poetry by listening to its rhyme, rhythm, and overall sound
- Tell students they will be learning strategies to help them appreciate poetry and read poetry more effectively.
- Discuss the following strategies and their importance with your students. I usually make a class set of the Reading Strategies for Poetry (PDF) and pass them out to students to refer to while I am discussing.
- Preview the poem and read it aloud a few times.
- Visualize the images, clarify words and phrases.
- Evaluate the poem's theme, and allow your understanding to grow.
- I tell them that reading a poem aloud a few times can help them get an overall feel for the language, rhyme, and rhythm of the poem.
- When I discuss visualizing, I ask the students what does the quotation "there are pictures in poems and poems in pictures" mean. Visualizing is when the author paints a picture in your head
- Explain to students that when you make an inference, you are "reading between the lines." In order to make an inference, you pay close attention to the details in the poem to make a logical assumption. An inference is a logical judgment based on a writer's words as well as your own knowledge and experience.
- Remind students to think about what the poet is trying to help them understand. Does it connect to anything in their lives?
- Read the poem "I'm Nobody! Who Are You?" by Emily Dickinson.
- Apply the strategies when reading and discussing the poem. For example, discuss the number of lines and stanzas, listen for rhyme and rhythm.
- Discuss unfamiliar words in poem such as "dreary" and "bog."
- Give each student a Poetry Inference Graphic Organizer (PDF). Tell them to choose three descriptive statements from the poem and write the inference for each statement.
- A graphic organizer can be completed on paper or using the software Inspiration.
- Encourage students to draw illustrations with their inferences also.
- Discuss students' inferences.
Supporting All Learners
Students need to be able to infer in all subject areas and in real life. Graphic organizers appeal to visual/spatial learners and discussion benefits verbal learners.
Students can research Emily Dickinson and her poetry.
Students will discuss with parents or guardian the following question: What are the pros and cons of being well known and of being unknown.
Inference graphic organizer
Are the students able to apply the reading strategies to help them analyze and understand poetry?
- Question students and listen to their responses.
- Evaluate the inference graphic organizer.