Presentation on theme: "“This is the Year”: Using Poetry to Enhance Critical Reading Skills Ms. Lauren Schmidt, M.F.A., M.A. Developmental English Instructor Passaic County Community."— Presentation transcript:
“This is the Year”: Using Poetry to Enhance Critical Reading Skills Ms. Lauren Schmidt, M.F.A., M.A. Developmental English Instructor Passaic County Community College
Program Abstract Using Martín Espada’s poem, “Imagine the Angels of Bread” as its thematic inspiration—a poem that speaks to the social and political changes that can occur beginning with a courage to imagine those changes—this presentation will demonstrate how to use poetry as a tool to transition developmental readers from Literal Comprehension (Level I) to higher levels of reading, including Inferential (Level II) and Applied Comprehension (Level III). This participant-centered workshop will provide a brief background about the Levels of Reading Comprehension, samples of accessible poetry, as well as a hands-on demonstration of how to create basic comprehension and critical thinking questions for each of the Levels.
Program Objectives To briefly summarize the three levels of Reading Comprehension. To identify what kinds of poems are effective for teaching developmental readers. To read and discuss samples of poetry using study guides that draw upon the concepts covered in Phase One of the presentation.
Level I: Literal Comprehension Literal Comprehension is, in short, what the text says. Questions that access this level of comprehension are objective, as opposed to subjective, and responses are either correct or incorrect. Readers identify and/or recall relevant information explicitly stated in the reading selection by identifying a statement or sentence that best indicates the main idea of the selection. identifying directly-stated facts (e.g., actions or events, names of characters, places or things in the selection, or special circumstances relevant to the story). identifying details such as key words, phrases, or sentences that explicitly state important characteristics, circumstances, or similarities and differences in characters, times, or places.
Level II: Inferential Comprehension Inferential Comprehension is, in short, what the text means. Readers should begin to understand the meanings drawn from the literal level. Questions that access this level of comprehension are objective, but can easily be supported by the text. Readers use information explicitly stated in the passage to determine what is not stated. Readers derive meaning by inferring an author’s unstated meaning by drawing conclusions based on specific facts, events, images, patterns, or symbols found in selected readings. inferring the main idea/theme of a text when it is not explicitly stated. identifying unstated reasons for actions or beliefs based on explicitly stated information.
Level III: Evaluative/Applied Comprehension Evaluative/Applied Comprehension measures a reader’s ability to apply literal and interpretive meanings to other texts. In other words, readers should be able to taking what was said (literal) and then what was meant by what was said (interpretive) and then extend (apply) the concepts or ideas. Readers use information explicitly stated in the passage to determine what is not stated and how what is not stated relates to larger concepts. Readers derive meaning by identifying unstated reasons for actions or beliefs based on explicitly stated information. applying, synthesizing, or analyzing concepts or ideas beyond the scope of the original text.
What Poems Don’t Work? Poems Full of Abstractions: Poems that deal in abstractions are more appropriately suited for much higher-level readers and critical thinkers. Poems that Take Too Many Liberties with Syntax, Sentence Structure, and/or Rules of Grammar: While these kinds of poems can be interesting and provocative in their own way, I would be very selective in choosing poems like this for developmental readers. Poems Beyond Readers’ Level of Experience: You risk alienating and frustrating your readers when you give them poems full of elevated diction, or poems that speak to issues outside their experience. Poems About Nature: For some reason, these rarely go over well with low-level readers. There are exceptions, I’m sure, but I haven’t found them
What Poems Work? Narrative or Lyrical poems: Narrative and lyrical poems usually have characters, whether it’s a first- or third-person speaker. Poems with Imagery: Poems that are grounded in the senses encourage readers to experience and understand meaning through their bodies. There are five different types of imagery: gustatory (taste), olfactory (smell), visual (sight), tactile (touch), and auditory (hearing). Poems that Speak to their Experience: Poems that do not draw on the existing knowledge and/or experience of readers are likely to fall flat, so it’s important for us as educators to consider our audience when selecting poems.
Poems on Masculinity/Manhood “Dickhead”—Tony Hoagland “Edwin Sucks Dick”—Paul Martínez Pompa “The Angel and the Spider”—Martín Espada “If”—Rudyard Kipling “You Must Sing”—Li Young Lee “Two Boys”—Doug Anderson “Enter the Dragon”—John Murillo “Francis”—Kevin Bowen “After Jumping Some Kids and Taking Their Money, 1988”—James Tyner
Small Group Objective Create four questions at the Literal Level (Level I). Create three questions at the Inferential Level (Level II). Create one question at the Evaluative Level (Level III).
Other Poets (An Admittedly Incomplete List) Sharon Olds Langston Hughes Paul Laurence Dunbar Robert Hayden Patrick Rosal Gwendolyn Brooks Nikki Giovanni Lucille Clifton Gary Soto Pablo Neruda (Odes/Love Sonnets) Sandra Cisneros Claribel Alegria Diana Garcia Patricia Smith Dorothy Parker Hafiz Omar Khayaam Gregory Djanikian Yusef Komunyakaa Cornelius Eady Bruce Weigl Brian Turner
Anthologies Fire and Ink: An Anthology of Social Action Writing (Diana García, Frances Payne Adler, and Debra Busman) Poetry Like Bread (Martín Espada) El Coro (Martín Espada) An Anthology of American Negro Poetry (Arna Bontemps) Against Forgetting (Carolyn Forché) Beowulf, to Beatles, & Beyond (David Pichaske)**
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