Read Aloud Rituals: Poetry Pause


In his book Learning Under the Influence of Language and Literature Lester Laminack advocates six read-aloud opportunities that we can incorporate into our classroom routines: 

  1. To build community at the beginning of each day.
  2. To put the sound of written language in the air.  This reading time features books or other selections with lyrical language, poetic prose, striking imagery, rich description, word play, figurative language, rhythm, and rhyme.
  3. To feature poetry. Focus same as #2.
  4. To support the writing workshop.  Purpose is to immerse writers in demonstrations of well-crafted written language.  Use segments, not whole texts.
  5. To enrich content areas
  6. To end the day:  chapter book.  

When I read #2 and #3, I realized that reading poetry aloud (other than during shared reading in our poetry notebooks) wasn’t something I was doing on a regular basis and I decided to fix that by setting aside a few moments each day for a Poetry Pause. To ensure that we didn’t skip over this, I selected two students to lead the Poetry Pause each day while waiting in line for lunch.  This privilege was bestowed upon my two Helpers of the Day.  

Among the tasks on their assigned day, these two students each selected and practiced a poem they wanted to read to the class.  They also told why they selected this poem.  I displayed a collection of poetry anthologies on the shelves so that students always had available sources for finding poems.  This came to be a treasured read-aloud ritual in my classroom and a great way to help students develop a love of poetry.

Here are a few examples of favorite poetry anthologies:

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