How to DISRUPT your poem: A deep reading method to ignite the interpretive process

Lesson Introduction

Understanding a poem is not a linear process, and each reader’s journey towards understanding will be unique to them. However, there are certain deep reading habits that will help all readers become more invested in the meaning of their poem, and to take ownership over their interpretation. The DISRUPTion process encourages students to challenge their assumptions about meaning in poetry, to take ownership over their interpretation of the poem, and to continually question their own understandings. Ultimately, the DISRUPT activity requires students to engage in a dialogue with the poem through annotation in a way that deepens their understanding of the poem and poetry in general.


Learning Objectives

  • To engage in an ongoing and circular interpretive process of understanding a poem.
  • To gain insights into the meaning of a poem by spending time with the language and doing any necessary research to help enrich students’ experiences with their poem.
  • To develop reading habits that encourage critical thinking, curiosity, and ownership over the meaning of a poem.
  • To reinforce students’ understanding of poetic devices and forms.
  • To personalize students’ relationships with their poems, encouraging a lasting and meaningful connection to the poem.

Materials and Resources

  • One poem chosen by the teacher to use as an example with the students (it’s best to choose one that none of the students has chosen). A good one for this is “Ex Libris” by Adebe D.A.
  • Poem printed from the PIV website (each student should have their own)
  • Pens and/or pencils and different-coloured highlighters
  • The DISRUPT handout
  • Dictionary
  • A glossary of poetic terms and forms
  • The Tone List
  • Exemplars of previous DISRUPTions, if available


Please apply for an account and log in to access the rest of this lesson plan.

Create Account

Start here: