Poetry is one of the best sources of text for building fluency. Its length, rhyme, rhythm, and repetitiveness lend itself well to reading with expression. Because it is fun, children are motivated to read more, which in turn helps them become more fluent. My students keep a poetry notebook of all of the poems we read throughout the year. I also include songs that teach and reinforce phonics skills. (These songs can be reproduced from The Big Book of Phonics Fun, Carson-Dellosa, 1994).
For my poetry notebooks I use 2-pocket folders with grommets.
I select poems for the entire year and give students a complete notebook at the beginning of the year. This works better for me than having students add new poems each week. The first few pages contain a table of contents so that students can easily find the weekly poems. The pictures below show the poems and songs included in one of my poetry notebooks. Click to enlarge.
Here is my weekly poetry notebook schedule:
Monday – Introduce a new poem using the Fluency Development Lesson created by Tim Rasinski.
Tuesday – Review Monday’s poem. Use the poem to teach vocabulary, phonics, structural analysis skills.
Wednesday – Introduce a new poem using the Fluency Development Lesson.
Thursday – Same as Tuesday with the new poem.
Friday – Friday is poetry fun day. We revisit old poems. Sometimes it’s "request a favorite poem" day. I select a handful of students to choose a favorite poem for the class to read. Sometimes it’s "recite a poem" day. I select a few students who have memorized a poem and are ready to recite for the class.
Also on Fridays, students take home their poetry notebooks to read poems for "lucky listeners" in their families. The lucky listeners sign the form in the back of the poetry notebooks.