Unlocking the Poem
Date of Availability:
Print: - Summer 2018
Digital: - Summer 2018
Overview of Unlocking the Poem
In a Nutshell
The idea behind Unlocking the Poem is basic—it’s all about the meaning. Serious readers of poetry know intuitively that getting to know a poem is a journey of personal discovery toward a credible, supported interpretation. Unlocking the Poem provides a method to help students achieve both personal discovery and valid interpretation through inquiry and analysis.
As they study the poems in this book, students will consistently learn and practice the four basic aspects of this approach: repeated readings; making a personal connection with the text; questioning the text sensitively but insistently; and, once insights have been developed, exploring how formal and technical elements affect our experience and interpretation of a poem.
How it Works
Through a patient process of silent and aloud reading and rereading, and through asking questions based on one’s initial and subsequent responses.
What it Emphasizes
- Taking the time to get to know a poem
- The quest for meaning begins with your own response
- Trusting that the things that confuse you are important, and that any confusion can open a path to meaning
- Meaning emerges from a patient engagement with details
What Makes it Unique
- Teaches poetry through poems, not through literary elements
- Begins with reader’s own reaction
- Contains enough lessons/poems to provide a thorough grounding in poetry analysis, but is handy and affordable
- Contains a wide range of classic, modern, and contemporary poems/poets
- Proceeds from highly accessible to more challenging poems
- Provides frequently taught poems but avoids chestnuts/warhorses
- Offers poems that will appeal to adolescent readers while maintaining a high standard of literary quality
- Offers many avenues of access: pre-engagement activities; repeated silent & oral reading; response journaling; individual, shared, and directed inquiry; formal technical analysis; two writing prompts
- Lessons are flexible and adaptable: group/individual, written/oral, pick & choose among questions and among parts of the lesson; at desk/at home; emphasize supplied questions or student-generated questions
- Allows frequent comparison of poems on similar subjects or themes
- Teacher guide provides lavish support including step-by-step instructions for introducing and using the lessons, teaching students to read poems aloud, answering questions, scoring essays
Samples of Unlocking the Poem
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