Welcome to today’s tip in my month-long Poetry Tips for Teachers series.
Tip #9: Speed it up.
Speed up a poem! When you’re repeating a poem that’s about a fast topic, speed up your reading. Often, we’ll start out reading the poem slowly, so they get to know the words and meaning a bit. Then we stretch or a few deep breaths.Then we go faster and faster until we can’t read it any faster. We “poetry athletes” dive into the poem, full steam ahead.? This usually results in a class full of out of breath (OK, that may just be me), laughing kids, having a blast with poems.
A couple of years ago, I wrote two pantoums. They both were built around the same line: “I have better things to do than survive.” One was weighty and serious. It would benefit from a slow, thoughtful reading. But the other one, “Otter’s Winter Song,” is light-hearted and zippy–and it needs that kind of reading, too.
And here I am giving it a whirl–this isn’t at TOP speed, but it’s definitely faster than a first read!