Jaime Wood offers middle school English language arts teachers material for teaching poetry by Nikki Giovanni, Li-Young Lee, and Pat Mora; the text includes graphic organizers and other resources.


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Middle school students often find studying poetry to be a fearful and frustrating experience. In this versatile teacher’s resource, Jaime R. Wood uses her passion for and knowledge of poetry to help students overcome their fears and to introduce students to a kind of literacy they can get excited about.

Because “traditional” poets may seem inaccessible to students, Wood focuses on the poetry of three “living voices”—Nikki Giovanni, Li-Young Lee, and Pat Mora. These poets are not only still living and writing, but they also have cultural backgrounds that parallel many of the lives of our students.

Through easy-to-follow lesson plans, Wood uses the work of these contemporary multicultural poets to demonstrate key concepts such as symbolism, personification, characterization, and theme. The lessons have been teacher-tested in middle school classrooms and are designed to encourage students to take ownership of their learning.

Wood provides many examples of student writing and graphic organizers, as well as a chapter of further resources. Open Living Voices at any section and jump in. You’ll discover a whole new way to teach poetry.

121 pp. 2006. Grades 6–8.  ISBN 10: 0-8141-3017-8; ISBN 13: 978-0-8141-3017-9.

No. 30178

Click here for related ReadWriteThink lesson plans by Jaime Wood.