I use poetry with my class from the first day of school. We have a poem of the week that I write out on sentence strips and place in a pocket chart. Then for a literacy center later in the week, the students glue a smaller version of the poem in their poetry notebooks (a composition notebook that is just for this purpose). At reading time, they have opportunities to reread poems that we have studied throughout the year.

We read the poem of the week every day. At the beginning of the year, I point to the poem using a pointer, but after a few weeks I pass this on for the students to do. Every day I have a quick activity to do with the poem. On the first day we talk about what the poem means. Other days we do word hunts (who can find ‘the' - using sight words, or ‘sailboat' - using letter sounds), sound hunts (who can find a words ending in /s/) and even punctuation hunts. I choose two or three words from the poem each week to add to our word wall. This is how we keep that word wall growing! A good resource for poems for shared reading is Poem of the Week by Betsy Franco.

Towards the end of the year, we have a poetry unit. In this unit the students write poems. I do not focus on rhyme, but instead teach them how to write list poems and similes (Grass is like a forest to an ant. Clouds are like popcorn to a giant.).