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5 Days of Letter Poems to Develop Reading sKills in Young Learners

Just like favorite songs, poetry creates a vision and a rhythm that draws our young learners in and excited them. Often short and simple, poems are powerful learning tools to help our students develop phonemic awareness, vocabulary, fluency, and phonics.

I use poems to expose my students to important phonological and phonemic awareness skills crucial to developing strong reading skills. As teachers, we know that these early literacy skills are the building blocks of reading as students learn how sounds come together to form words. Poems help them to listen and develop “an ear” for the sounds in spoken language. Students learn to recognize words that begin with the same sound, identify words that rhyme, count syllables in a word, and blend and segment words. 

Children are naturally drawn to the rhythm and rhyme of poems. That is why poetry is a wonderful avenue to introduce students to new words and build vocabulary skills. As new words are introduced in new contexts students add new words to their vocabulary and make connections. 

Fluency is developed as my students are exposed to repeated readings. The melody, rhythm, and pacing of a poem supports them in developing expression and fluent reading the text. 

Where phonemic awareness helps my students work with the sound of spoken language, phonics teaches students that the letters are connected to sounds and sounds are connected to words. Poetry is the perfect tool to bridge the gap between letters and the sounds they make to create words and sentences. This is why I love using my Letter Poems to help my students develop their reading skills and here is how I make the magic happen!

 

5 Steps to Building Reading Skills Using Letter Poems

As teachers, we want our students to develop important learning skills in a fun, engaging, and interactive manner. Let me show you how I use my Letter Poems in my classroom to teach print concepts, phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, and fluency.

Day 1: INTRODUCTION

Mondays are all about introducing a new Letter poem Poster. The excitement level is high as students anticipate which letter they will be learning and what the poem will be about. 

Before reading the poem, we always “take a walk” though the poem, looking at the letter and the vocabulary pictures to activate their prior knowledge and encourage conversation. Students practice active listening as I read through the poem multiple times before we practice choral reading as a class. It is a great way to practice phonemic awareness and phonics skills as we learn about the letter, letter, sound, rhyming words, and vocabulary words.

Day 2: MODEL & PRACTICE

After reviewing and practicing the poem, Letter Poem Sentence Strips are used to model and practice the poem. As students “build” the poem, we review the letter and letter sound, as well as the rhyming words. The sentence strip and pictures help students recall the poem as they place the strips in the correct order. After students are familiar with this process, I place a copy of the sentence strips poems in a center for students to practice independently or with a partner.

Day 3: INDEPENDENT PRACTICE

Day 3 is the day my students get to “show what they know”. After another round of letter and sound review and choral reading, students use the Poem Cut and Paste sheet to build the poem. Students love coloring the pictures to the letter poem and gluing them in the correct order. The Poem Cut and Paste help develop print concepts of reading top to bottom and left to right and also practicing sight words. As my students have fun rereading the poem, they are also building their fluency skills. 

Day 4: LETTER POEM MINI-BOOKLET

By now, my students are very familiar with the poem and can repeat it with rhythm and voice, so they are especially excited to make their own Letter Poem Mini-Booklet. Students take ownership when they color in the pictures, trace the letter and then read the poem. My students love adding these Letter Poem Mini-Booklets to their book boxes to read independently.

Day 5: POETRY NOTEBOOK

The culmination of our Letter Poem study is used for our Poetry Notebook. I give my students a copy of the Letter Poem to glue in a spiral notebook. Students color the vocabulary words, trace the letter and then add an illustration in the space provided. Each week we add a new Letter Poem to our poetry notebook and build on our letter knowledge skills.

I’ve made it easy for you! I have created all of the Letter Poems and activities you need in one resource. It has everything you need to teach letter and letter sounds through fun and engaging poems. Just click Print and let the learning fun begin!

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