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ERIC Number: EJ887685
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-May
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0013-8274
Talking to, Talking about, Talking with: Language Arts Students in Conversation with Poetic Texts
Emert, Toby
English Journal, v99 n5 p67-73 May 2010
English teachers share the blame for the lack of imaginative responses from students to the texts they bring to students, given their penchant for focusing on the most technical elements of literature rather than on its emotional resonance. In classrooms, teachers often concentrate too heavily on what Janet Allen calls the "products" of their reading. They ask students to interact with literature in ways that do not encourage them to develop long-term relationships with the texts. Unfortunately, this is especially true of poems. The author found that most students see poems as little more than extremely difficult puzzles. They are not compelled to try to make sense of the visual pictures that might be created by fiddling around with the various elements, much less willing to ponder and respond to the emotional content or the philosophical concerns that might be shimmering beneath the language play. These types of outcomes seem much more connected to poetry's pulse than the ability to identify a poet's use of allusions or similes or metaphors. The author believes that students need to have dramatic responses to the poems they read and to develop rich relationships with the language, the structures, and the ideas poems contain. In this article, the author describes one imaginative strategy developed to help students respond to poetry in ways that encourage them to love the poems and to enhance the skill set they need to engage in deep readings of texts. The author suggests creative ways of engaging students in thinking, writing, and performing poetry in a readers theater project. (Contains 6 figures.)
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 7; Grade 8; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A