Johns Hopkins University Secondary Support Initiative (JHUSSI)  



Langston Hughes (Poetry Foundation, 2015)


Poetry is an essential component of teaching English. Through poetry, students can learn about the aesthetic of the language, while analyzing figurative language and strengthening their reading fluency. For elementary students, repeated readings of poems help to build appropriate pacing, rhythm, and expression, as well as other important oral language skills related to reading and speaking (Hughes, 2007). Older students can benefit from closely reading poems to study information and explore social and emotional issues. Older students also benefit from studying the author’s use of literary devices (e.g., metaphors, similes, allegory, imagery) to make inferences about themes and to gain insight into the world around them (Poetry Foundation, 2015).


The following lessons include strategies that can be applied to poetry instruction to develop skills with decoding, fluency, comprehension, visualization of imagery, and metacognition.