Poetry is the perfect ingredient for building fluency, so one way to celebrate National Poetry Month is by turning “Poetry Month” into “Fluency Month!”
Students love poetry and they love performing, so think about integrating activities that would combine the two with a fluency focus. The Performing Poetry strategy from ReadWriteThink is perfect for this! Each week, you can introduce a new poem for students to practice fluency with. After modeling and going over any new vocabulary, students can practice throughout the week and put on an end-of-the-week poetry performance! The article by ReadWriteThink suggests having a culminating poetry event such as a Poetry Parade, Poetry Day, Poetry Theatre, Poetry Cafe, or even a Poetry Night with parents!
Using iTalk to for Poetry Performing Practice
One way my students practice their poetry performance throughout the week is by recording their poetry reading on the iPads using a voice recording app. Audio recordings are powerful, as it allows students to hear themselves as another person would. I use the iTalk Recorder app which is offered for free through Apple. Students love using this app to record their voices and listen to the recording afterwards. It’s very easy to use… for both teachers and students!
Students can save their recordings to compare before/after readings, reflect on their fluency, and set appropriate goals. The app also times the students, so it allows them to calculate a words per minute (wpm) rate of reading. Students can try to improve their wpm rate with each practice. (NOTE: You can save the recordings and use them as informal running records, too!)
If you don’t have iPads in your classroom, consider using Audacity on your classroom desktop computers or laptops. It’s free and easy to use, as well!
I love the idea of Poetry Theatre as a form of “Poetry Performing.” While many define “poetry theatre” as a general performance of poetry, I have a different definition in my classroom. I’ve developed a series of partner poems that are like Readers Theatre plays, where students have a specific part they play in the poem. Each part is a different perspective (also great for teaching point of view!). The partner perspective poems I create are have a back-and-forth structure, and students love changing their voices to sound like the two characters. These poems are great for fluency practice because students have to think about character voice and expression, while reading their lines with good pace, phrasing, and attention to punctuation. Just like with any poem-of-the-week, students can perform these in a culminating event to show off their fluency skills!
Are you interested in bringing “Poetry Theatre” or the “Performing Poetry” strategy into your classroom?
MsJordanReads Poetry Resources
To celebrate National Poetry Month, I’m spotlighting my partner poetry anthology. The Complete Partner Poetry Book is a collection of partner perspective poems that are perfect for developing fluency skills and building confidence through a readers theater-like performance. The collection includes over 15 partner poems and is a growing anthology, which means new poems are being added all the time!
If you have iPads in your classroom, you can open the PDF file with iBooks or Notability and the students can read it like an eBook! You’ll need to upload the files to the device using email or Dropbox first, but after you click “Open With iBooks” or “Open with Notability,” it stays on the shelf until you delete it. I’ve created quite a library of digital poems and PDF files this way, and students even create their own PDF “eBooks” and poems to read and share with the class!
Just like with any PDF in iBooks or Notability, students can highlight text and look up specific word definitions. Students can also use the highlighting feature of the apps to go on phonics word hunts and find evidence in the text.
NOTE: This post was originally part of the “Spring Has Sprung” Poetry Blog Hop! Check out the first post in the blog hop HERE to scoop up additional poetry month ideas and resources. Visit the next stop in the blog hop with Practice Makes Perfect!