Introduction
Table of Contents
Fifty Ways to Use Poems
Poetry Links to Phonics Lessons
Sample Poems
Values and Goals of Poetry in First Grade Classrooms

Sing a Song of Poetry rolls off the tongue and moves the heart and spirit, if not the feet and hands. Rhythmical language of any sort delights young children as it surrounds them with the magical sounds of dancing words. But poetry, verse, and song provide the magic of teaching as well; indeed, oral language is the doorway to the world of written language and the foundation for literacy. As first graders respond to the sound patterns, intriguing words, and inspiring ideas they find in poems, songs, and rhymes, they are learning invaluable lessons about the ways in which our language works - knowledge that will serve them well as they become readers and writers.

The poems, songs, and rhymes in this volume are a rich source of language, ideas, and imagery that will help first graders use and enjoy oral and written language. This volume is a companion to the lessons described in Phonics Lessons, Grade 1: Letters, Words, and How They Work (Pinnell and Fountas 2003, Heinemann). It can also be used as a stand-alone resource for language and literacy opportunities in any primary classroom.

Experiences with poetry help children become aware of the phonological system of language and provide a foundation for matching sounds with letters, letter clusters, and word parts. You can use poems, chants, and songs to help children:

  • Listen for and identify rhyming words.
  • Identify words with the same beginning, ending, or medial sound.
  • Combine sounds to form words and check with the letters.
  • Match sounds to letters in words.
  • Divide words into separate sounds and match to letters.

Children love poetry with rhythm and rhyme; the language of poetry sings inside their heads. As they grow in experience, they also learn to appreciate poetry that does not rhyme and the sensory images and unique perspectives it evokes. Poetry is related to the many cultures from which children come; by sharing cultures, they construct the common experiences of childhood.

In addition, poetry provides resources for the heart and spirit. Immersing children in simple poetry at an early age helps to instill a lifelong habit of enjoying language and seeking out poetry in order to expand one's vision. Poetry joins us to the past and to our fellow human beings in the present.

Review the Values and Goals of Poetry in First Grade Classrooms chart.

 
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