Out Loud: Preparing for a Poetry Read-Aloud

Developed by Sandy Scragg, New York City, 2002

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Lesson 5: Reading Out Loud--Some Advice

Instructional Objectives:

1) Students will be able to generate their own rubric for assessing a poetry reading performance.

2) Students will be able to practice reading poetry after receiving advice from online experts.


Time Required: (1) 45-minute class session


Materials/Resources Required: Various links containing advice for reading poetry out loud: 1) George Mason University's Checklist for Reading Poetry. 2) Hints on Reading Poetry Aloud from the University of Pennsylvania.


Vocabulary & Key Concepts: rubric


Procedures & Activities:

1) Distribute the poems that students chose from the online poetry databases. Remind students that they will be reading these poems out loud in class that day.

2) Ask students for their own tips for poetry readers--what advice can we give? (Responses in my class: "Project your voice," "Speak clearly," "Make sure you are understandable," "Put some feeling into it.")

3) Then ask students to read both online articles (links above) for some specific advice about reading poetry out loud.

4) When students have completed the reading, work on creating a rubric for use in class on reading poetry. Solicit criteria from the lclass based on their previous remarks, and the new ideas from the articles. (see the rubric created by my class)

5) Once the criteria have been established, the teacher should distribute the poems handed in the day before and ask students one-by-one to come up to read in front of the class. (Some students may ask for a little time to prepare--permit 10 minutes or so if they would like.) At this point, students should try to work out their ideas for reading out loud themselves and no feedback is required from the teacher or from any students (unless, of course, the readers are inaudible). Encourage them at this point--there will be more opportunities for working on problems later on. Remember that reading aloud will be potentially terrifying for some of your students. At this point, try to create a safe and supportive environment within your classroom. If students feel comfortable, they'll also take the later suggestions better.


Samples of Student Work: Student-created rubric for evaluating an oral poetry reading; Poems that students chose in my class.



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