Finding ways to engage students’ interest in poetry can be challenging to say the least. However, poetry can be exciting and inspiring to students, especially if we find some alternative ways to present it to them rather than just using the standard poetry anthology that’s on the syllabus. Here are 4 ideas to try to get students interested in poetry.
1. Find Poems That Resonate With Your Students
Trying to select poetry that resonates with your students and their own lives is important, especially when trying to capture their attention. A good poem can introduce your students to perspectives they’ve never encountered before, help them look at complex social issues, and even encourage them to express deeply felt emotions. We recommend perhaps looking at some more modern written poetry, as this may address issues that students are more aware of or may understand the language used a little better.
2. Support Students In Writing Their Own Poetry
The act of writing out their own poetry may be a lot more interesting for students than simply reading it. That’s because through writing poetry students are actually encouraged to reflect on their own experiences, recreate them, shape them, and make sense of them. In fact, the beauty of students having the freedom to write a poem is giving them the opportunity to give significance to a particular event or feeling and to communicate this to the reader or to the listener or just themselves.
3. Combine Poetry And Music
Reluctant students may change their minds about poetry, especially when invited to look at it through the lens of music. It’s not unusual for students to bond between themselves over music and certain lyrics, which means they’re actually already engaging in some poetry analysis! Try bringing to class copies of the lyrics to a song you know most of your students will like and encourage them to discuss in groups the poetic qualities of the words. Alternatively, you could ask students to examine a song they personally love and share their analysis or connection with the class.
4. Make It Easily Accessible
It’s important to try and make poetry accessible for students. This means finding poetry books that will appeal to their interests and utilising online poetry sites, apps and YouTube videos that can inspire students. Here are some excellent poetry books for reluctant poetry readers.