Don't Drink Bees Educational Ideas

...and other "pearls of wisdom"

Friday, April 28, 2006

Reading Poetry Outloud: Joyful Noise

If you teach English/language arts and you haven't heard of this book, you should definitely check it out. Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman is a lot of fun for students to read aloud in class. The poems are written as "duets." There are two parts that are read simulaneously. Sometimes only one voice is heard, sometimes two voices in unison.

When you use these poems in class, you, the teacher, will be the conductor. You can divide the class into two sections, one for each "voice." Then cue each section as it comes time for them to read. Even if there are mistakes, the experience will be a lot of fun.

The poems are about grasshoppers and bees and fireflies. Lots of onomatopoeia ("whining, whirring pulsing chanting") and alliteration ("fireflies flickering flitting flashing") and humor ("Being a bee is a joy. I'm the queen").

Kids like "making music" as they read the poems aloud. This book inspired me to break other famous poems into parts/voices, such as The Weary Blues by Langston Hughes.

This is a great way to introduce poetry reading, which can be somewhat intimidating if a child is asked to read a poem out loud, alone, in front of a class for the first time.

When read in "voices," poems become a fun group activity. Poems become as accessible as a favorite song.


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