Strategies for Teaching Poetry to High School Students

Caryl A. Grimsley

Lesson Introduction

1.  Always choose poems that are slightly higher than age appropriate, though with a mixture of topics and appeal.

2.  Use prominent days throughout the year to read poems by celebrated writers, as well as supply important biographical details:

3.  Review memorization skills and presentation skills each year.

4.  Teach specific literary devices in the earlier grades and have students memorize lines that exemplify that particular device.

  • imagery: concrete / abstract, sensory
  • comparisons: simile, metaphor, analogy, synesthesia, personification
  • contrasts: oxymoron, irony, paradox
  • symbolism: metonymy, synecdoche

5.  Have different genres for different levels: e.g. ballads, sonnets, mythology/hero epics

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