Poems are a great way to build fluent readers. To do this you will need large chart paper and a poem of you choice. Use colored markers to write the poem on the chart paper. Each stanza or line should be in a different color depending on the poem and intent of the lesson. You will first want to model the reading of the poem in your own voice. Encourage the students to watch and listen as you read aloud. Point to each line as you read so that all of the students have the opportunity to follow along. When the poem is completed you may want to read it through one more time if you feel that the students may have not been following along. Repetition is always good in having students follow along and practice their tone and voice. Tell the students to repeat after you as you read the poem line by line. When the students are repeating the lines back to you, point to each word to set the pace for the class. If you do not point to each word the students will set the pace of the poem and the voice level of the classroom will increase tremendously. By pointing to each word you can gauge the students' ability to read the poem and pronounce each word. If you find that the students cannot pronounce a word or a phrase, you must go back and model the word or phrase a few more times. Point to each word as you read it aloud. Exaggerate the words as you read them so that the students can hear all of the sounds. Then make it a point to go back to the beginning of the sentence and have the students read it in their normal voice so they have a chance to hear and feel how the words should be read and spoken.
Hickory Dickory Dock. (Hick-o-rey, Dick-o-rey, Dock
The mouse ran up the clock. (ran – up – the – clock)
You will be surprised to find that the students will improve on their fluency tremendously by practicing this numerous times.
Be sure to do this activity with a few different poems. Please reference the student materials for a list of books with poems. Once the students understand the purpose of this activity and can handle it as a class, you might wish to put the students into small groups and directing them to specific lines or stanzas. The students will read their part as you point to each line. You will see the students get excited to try this again. Not only are they practicing their fluency, enunciation and pronunciation of each word but they also working on staying focused and working as a group.