Writing in Stereo

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Lesson 5A: Reading poetry

April 11th, 2010

The original Writing in Stereo was published online back in the late 1980's.  Its purpose was to apply creative radio dramatics to all aspects of the teaching of high school English.  Each lesson included a lesson plan and notes.  I'm sharing these with you here.

UNIT OBJECTIVE: (V) The student will record three poem readings.

LESSON OBJECTIVE: (A) The student will read poetry correctly line to line by punctuation marks.

MATERIALS REQUIRED: paper and pencil, poetry text

INTRODUCTION: When you were little you heard your first poetry in the form of nursery rhymes. Their clever sing-song rhyming verse enchanted us all. We all grew up thinking that rhythm/rhyme combination was all there was to poetry. Many of us still think the end of the line is the end of the thought.


1. Select two unrhymed poems lacking end-of-line punctuation. Divide the class in half, assigning one of the poems to each half.

2. Ask students to copy the assigned poem on their own paper in prose (paragraph) form.

3. They are then to correctly punctuate the prose version, adding commas and periods where they seem to be needed.

4. Have the students select a partner from the other half of the room. Each then reads the prose translation of the poem to the partner while that student reads the original form silently.

5. The student listening then writes a list of events, a plot for the poem.

6. Students then repeat the process, the partner reading the other assigned poem.

7. Hand out your list of events in the poem. Have students score their partners' work based on the number of events correctly cited.

EVALUATION FOCUS: Students receive points for how well their partners' lists of events match the teacher's. (You may wish to allow students the opportunity to reread the poem aloud to the partner to see if they can pick up any ideas they missed on the first reading.)