Tip #9: Speed It Up! [Poetry Tips for Teachers]

Welcome to today’s tip in my month-long Poetry Tips for Teachers series.

Tip #9: Speed it up.

Speed up a poem! When you’re repeating a poem that’s about a fast topic, speed up your reading. Often, we’ll start out reading the poem slowly, so they get to know the words and meaning a bit. Then we stretch or a few deep breaths.Then we go faster and faster until we can’t read it any faster. We “poetry athletes” dive into the poem, full steam ahead.? This usually results in a class full of out of breath (OK, that may just be me), laughing kids, having a blast with poems.

A couple of years ago, I wrote two pantoums. They both were built around the same line: “I have better things to do than survive.” One was weighty and serious. It would benefit from a slow, thoughtful reading. But the other one, “Otter’s Winter Song,” is light-hearted and zippy–and it needs that kind of reading, too.

Otter's Winter Song

 

 

And here I am giving it a whirl–this isn’t at TOP speed, but it’s definitely faster than a first read!

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16 Responses

  1. Nearing a tongue-twister. Took me back to my younger days of Suzie selling seashells by the seashore and Peter Piper and his peck of pickled peppers. A big shout out for Poetry Month. It has been, and continues to be such fun.

    1. Thanks, Martha:) Reading tongue-twistery poems is great because when the whole class is an exhausted heap from poem-reading and laughing, you can’t help but have fun! The epic fails are even more fun than the successes, sometimes.

  2. Nearing a tongue-twister. Took me back to my younger days of Suzie selling seashells by the seashore and Peter Piper and his peck of pickled peppers. A big shout out for Poetry Month. It has been, and continues to be such fun.

    1. Thanks, Martha:) Reading tongue-twistery poems is great because when the whole class is an exhausted heap from poem-reading and laughing, you can’t help but have fun! The epic fails are even more fun than the successes, sometimes.

  3. A slip-sliding flurry indeed! What a fun poem, Laura! Thank you for making me feel zippy this morning. 🙂

  4. A slip-sliding flurry indeed! What a fun poem, Laura! Thank you for making me feel zippy this morning. 🙂

  5. What a fascinating exercise in reading aloud! When I first read this (to myself), I wasn’t sure that I could read it as quickly as you’d like. (Ditto re Martha’s “nearing a tongue-twister” comment.) But after hearing your audio clip, I just HAD to try it–and heard your voice and intonations as I read it aloud in my best “Laura Purdie Salas impression.” Really helps to have your reading as a model!

    1. Hehe. I should have mentioned, too, that I often have kids read just the rhyming words when it’s a super-fast poem. Otherwise it can turn into a jumble of noise! Thanks for giving it a try:)

  6. What a fascinating exercise in reading aloud! When I first read this (to myself), I wasn’t sure that I could read it as quickly as you’d like. (Ditto re Martha’s “nearing a tongue-twister” comment.) But after hearing your audio clip, I just HAD to try it–and heard your voice and intonations as I read it aloud in my best “Laura Purdie Salas impression.” Really helps to have your reading as a model!

    1. Hehe. I should have mentioned, too, that I often have kids read just the rhyming words when it’s a super-fast poem. Otherwise it can turn into a jumble of noise! Thanks for giving it a try:)

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