Children come meet me on the rug, because I want to introduce you to a new literacy station. It is called the Poetry Station, and what I really like best about it is that you get to construct a book. The book is called your poetry binder. You will be writing in them and collecting poems to practice your reading and writing skills. Each page has a different poem that we will be introduced to at the beginning of the week along with our sight word of the week. This will give us practice seeing, hearing, writing, and reading our sight words. Then on Fridays, you will get to take the binders home to read to your families. Your families will be amazed at how well you are beginning to read! The important thing to remember is that your Poetry Binder and tote bag must come back to school every Monday, so that we can start on our next poem.
(I show them how each binder is set up and where we will be storing the binders until we need to use them. I have my students store their binders in a tote bag and then hang the bags on Command Strip hooks that are lined up on the side of my desk.)
Part of teaching reading is motivating the children to practice, practice, practice. I have found that using children's poetry is one way to do this. The main purpose of reading the poems is to create enthusiasm for reading. Relating skills to what is actually being read is always a good practice; however, turning it into a skills drill can defeat that purpose.
This is how we will do our Poetry Binders. On Mondays, the poetry routine will begin by me reading to you the "Poem of the Week". Today's poem is called "Silly Rhymes." (Read this aloud to the students. Since this is from a copyrighted book, I can not show you the page, but you will get the gist of it.)
Then I will show you the key word for week as well. This week's word is look. We will look at how many letters are in the word, and listen for the beginning sounds as well. How many letters are in the word, look? What sound do you hear at the beginning? We see an "l", but that is not it's sound. Remember "l" pushes our tongue on the back of our front teeth to make its sound.
The poem of the week has blanks where the key word will be written. I will ask for some of you to come up and write the words on the lines. I will ask you to listen for different things each time we read the poem, like listening for rhyming words and pointing out any sight words (popcorn words) that you recognize. Since this poem is about rhymes, we will look for the rhyming words. The rest of the work will be done in your Poetry Binders when you go to the Poetry Station.
Once the children know where they are going for literacy stations, they grab their Poetry Binders from their designated bags. If I have a parent volunteer, I like to have that person sit down with the children to help keep them on track at least for the first few weeks. The children are writing the key word for each blank and then they color carefully the illustration. For some pages, the children get to make their own illustrations.
The children then read their page for the week to an adult in the room.
On Fridays, at the very end of the day, the children bring their binders to the circle and we read the poem through one more time before I send them home. For this week's poem, the children had to create their own rhymes.
Let's read our poems together. I would like to get three volunteers to read their own poems to the class. Do you hear the rhymes? Practice your poem reading this weekend because on Monday, some of you will get a chance to read to me.
On Mondays, I try to find some time for a child to read the poem to me. It really shows who has practiced and who has not.