Strategies for Teaching Poetry to High School Students

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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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Poetry In Voice is a charitable organization that encourages Canadian students to fall in love with poetry through reading, writing, and recitation. All of our resources are available online for free. You may also use our resources if you reside outside of Canada.