Academic journal article Research & Teaching in Developmental Education

Engaging Poetry

Academic journal article Research & Teaching in Developmental Education

Engaging Poetry

Article excerpt

Engaging Poetry

Smith, K. (2003). Engaging poetry. Leawood, KS: Leathers Publishing.

Poetry! The word usually elicits moans and the characteristic "eye-rolling" by the students in a developmental reading class. Further investigation and prodding often finds that many of our students write poetry, read poetry (when it is not "forced"), and share their writing with their peers. And surprisingly, many honestly enjoy poetry.

Engaging poetry by Kent Smith is a text that will extend and re-emphasize students' reading and comprehension of poetry and maybe even convert a few naysayers. The text consists of 44 poems directed to "upper secondary and college students" and consists of ten thematic sections: "Childhood," "School," "Activities," "Cars," "Work," "Sensitivities," "Family," "Devotion," "Recollection," and "Poetry." One of the positive aspects of these units is that they mirror many of the thematic organizational patterns found in developmental and freshman readers. Smith has selected a wide array of poems and authors which is very appealing and allows for instructors to deal with a range of forms and patterns. Each poem is followed by several discussion questions; these questions can also be used as writing assignments and prompts as suggested by the author.

When 1 decided to review this text for the journal, I piloted a section with my developmental reading class this past fall. Who better to criticize and offer suggestions than the intended audience?

The class had just completed the thematic unit, "Work," in the textbook we were using and this seemed a natural time to segue into a poetic look at this topic. …

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